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USA - Women's national team kicks-off inaugural training camp
ROME (Training camp) – Utilizing a 14-0 run to open the second half, the 2007-08 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team (1-0) ran away with a 77-47 victory over the Italian National Team on Wednesday evening at the Pallazetto dello Sport in front of a packed house and an Italian nationally televised audience. Leading the charge for the U.S. were Sylvia Fowles (Louisiana State University) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Connecticut Sun), who notched 15 and 14 points, respectively.
"We talked defensively about how to defend them a little bit better with all the screening action that was going on," said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan about her halftime locker room speech. "We calmed down a little bit more. I thought we executed our offense better in the second half, we started to hit some more shots. I don't think we hit much from the outside in the first half at all, so in the second half we had a lot more confidence. We calmed down, hit a few of the outside shots to go with what Taj was doing inside."
"I think we had some issues with the chemistry in the first and second quarters, some focus issues," said McWilliams-Franklin. "Especially on defense. I don’t think we were trusting enough of each other so we were trying to play it safe. We sat down at halftime, coach talked about our defense, our help side, rotating on transition, and I think starting the third quarter with the switch it made us more aggressive, players weren’t just laying back or waiting to get picked. I know for myself and for (Tamika) Catchings, we can do that and do it well. Switching really helped us get more aggressive and we pulled away after that. And after that it was just about staying focused and putting the hammer down on them."
The USA won’t have much of a rest as its next game is tomorrow, April 12, versus the professional team Phard Napoli in Naples (3:30 p.m. EDT). After three additional days of practice the USA is slated to meet the professional team Pallancestro Viterbo on April 16 (3:00 p.m. EDT) in Viterbo. The U.S. will return to Rome for a game against an all-star squad made up of top players from Italy’s Pomezia Region on April 17 (12:00 p.m. EDT). The USA will cap its Tour of Italy with practices on April 18 and 19.