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a litte US v. Spain recap via:

Yours truly and Lee: Women’s World Cup: USA sweeps to gold with 77-64 win over Spain 

The United States’ offense was at times elegant – as when Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) bulleted a court-long past to Seimone Augustus for one of her game-high assists – and at times muscular, as when Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) ended the first quarter with a crowd-pleasing drive to the basket.

Women’s World Cup: Australia takes bronze in 74-44 rout of Turkish hosts

It was obvious that the Turkish team was disappointed and emotionally exhausted after their tournament run, but there was pride, too. “I’d like to congratulate the Australians on their win tonight,” said Turkish coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu. “They fought really hard to get this win, and it was a particularly powerful performance coming off their loss to the United States last night. For us it was just the opposite. We weren’t able to bounce back from the game last night (Turkey’s loss to Spain).”

Doug: Maya Moore leads U.S. to gold medal

Sue Bird added another gold medal to her already incredible U.S. basketball resume.

Bird became the most-decorated player in world championship history when the Americans won a second straight gold with a 77-64 victory over Spain on Sunday night.

Last year, Maya Moore “traveled” far into the future. The magic of professional make-up artists transformed her into “Betty Lou,” the old lady who shows she hasn’t lost her basketball mojo in a Pepsi Max commercial with similarly aged NBA players Kyrie Irving and Nate Robinson.

When Moore looked in the mirror and saw herself in artificial elderly form, her competitiveness came out.

“I hope I’m going to look better than that,” she said with a grin during this past WNBA season. “Both of my grandmothers are aging well, and my mom is, too. I’ve got some good genes.”

No one — least of all Team USA’s opponents at the FIBA World Championship for Women — will dispute that. The United States won the gold medal Sunday with a 77-64 victory over Spain, and Moore was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Boti Nagy: Australia captain Penny Taylor named in All-Star Five after excellent World Championship form and Marianna Tolo stars as Opals hammer Turkey to secure third place at World Championships

 Brutal defensive pressure and brilliant offensive teamwork has won Australia a bronze medal at the FIBA Women’s World Championships after a 74-44 win over host nation Turkey.

Marianna Tolo led the assault with an Opals tournament-high of 21 points at 73 per cent, grabbing six rebounds and playing great defence in a complete performance which should secure avid WNBA interest for the France-based centre.

AAP: Opals finish in the medals at world championships

 The Australian women’s basketball team has saved it s best for last to win the bronze medal in style at the world championship.

The Opals, missing their two most influential players, completed an impressive campaign with a 30-point thumping of hosts Turkey in Sunday’s third-place playoff.

Today’s Zaman: Turkey loses bronze medal chance after Australia defeat

It’s been lovely to be in Istanbul and really fun to be in the arena for the World Championships. The praised heaped on the Turkish fans is well deserved.  I wish I could have seen more of the city, but that just means I can come back again. Until then, some final shots of the Blue Mosque.

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Can’t WAIT for the Turkey – Australia game. I know the place will be rockin’.

And, a little something something to peruse before the Spain – U.S. game: U.S. defeats Australia, 82-70; Faces Spain for gold

…it’s odd to hear Frank Sinatra filling the Turkish streets… off to the Tram-Ferrry-Metro-Taxi-Arena!

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You had a feeling this would happen… and it did. U.S. 94, France 72.

Griner and Charles combined to make 14 of their 18 shots as the U.S. dominated the paint, outscoring France 62-24.

“That was the plan,” point guard Sue Bird said. “We wanted to get stops on the defensive end, run as fast as we could and then get the ball inside. We were able to generate really good shots and there are enough players on this team if you get them their looks that they’re probably going to make them. Everyone took their shot.”

Wrote Mechelle:

It’s hard enough to contend with the Americans when they’re having just an average shooting game. When they are hitting practically every shot they even think about, just forget it.
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The thing was it wasn’t just the inside game that worked for the Americans on Friday. It was everything. This was one of those rare times when if you shot 50 percent, you were the least accurate player on the team.

The U.S. quickly and efficiently cut their way through the French and swept into the semi finals of the World Championship. Of course there are nits to pick (those threes, Gruda’s goodness) but really, that’s only because Geno and his crew need something to pick at during this mornings walkthrough.

From USA Basketball

Shooting a USA World Championship record 70.7 percent from the field (41-58 FGs), the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (4-0) took control of the game early in its 94-72 win over France (3-2) and never looked back to advance to the semifinals of the 2014 FIBA World Championship on Friday night at Fenerbahce Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.

“When you come out and shoot the ball the way we shot it in the first half, it’s kind of difficult for the other team to kind of keep pace,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut). “We just have so many good offensive players. They’re a very physical team and they’re a very good defensive team, and they rely on their defense to keep them in games. But, the way we started the game and the way Tina (Charles) and Brittney (Griner) kind of set the tone early on. We were able to get them established in the lane. Then we just played off of that.

Next up for the US: the Australians, who entered the semi’s by defeating Canada 63-52. (Shout out to Mini Mi and her key threes)

“We expected a fight,” Australia coach Brendan Joyce said. “We weren’t surprised with that first quarter, we talked about the defensive end a bit, trying to reduce the scoring, the second quarter, things were going well, we tightened up a little bit.”

While I appreciate Sue Birds description of the Opals (“Even though they might not have Lauren Jackson and Elizabeth Cambage and whatever, they have an identity within themselves, and they really play to it.”), it’s hard to imagine the Aussies can give the US much of a match, especially with Griner and Charles hitting on all cylinders, but, stranger things have happened.

Of note, Australia hasn’t faced particularly stiff competition this tournament (CubaKorea, and Belarus), but they have used the games to regroup. We’ll see how well Marianna Tolo is prepared to step in for the missing bigs. Paulo Kennedy asks: Opals kick-starting something good?

While every team dreams of dethroning the undisputed queens of international basketball, few outfits hang with the USA for more than a half.

A big question for the Opals is how to approach the game?

Do they continue with the same aggressive approach and back their system? Or do they make adjustments to slow the game a little and take away some of the Americans’ strengths?

While some subtle adjustments are required in pool play, I’m a firm believer in sticking with what you’re best at, because doing something you’re not as good at is unlikely to deliver victory.

In the other semi, it will be Spain against the home crowd… and team, Turkey. For many, Spain has been the class of the opposition. It’s why Paul wonders, Can ‘basketball alchemist’ Mondelo work his magic?

The question of whether anybody can actually get anywhere toppling the all-conquering USA is a common one at any major tournament.

Traditionally, it has been Australia and Russia who have been the major challengers to their superiority, but now Spain look like they could assume the mantle of closest rivals.

After all, they have Lucas Mondeloat the helm – someone I am now labelling as a ‘basketball alchemist’ for his ability to produce success and primarily gold, for both club and country.

Put quite simply – I believe if anyone can, then Mondelo can.

Of course the play-caller is only one part of the Spanish asset-base, which looks to be magnificent at the moment.

It will be exciting to see them play in person. They handled China efficiently, 71-55, behind Sancho Lyttle’s 24 points and 7 rebounds. Really appreciate the Spanish press in attendance, btw.

The Turkey/Serbia game was a hoot to attend — though my ears are still ringing. The crowd was loud (I mean REALLY loud) and enthusiastic – living and dying with every basket. It was a back-and-forth game with UNC grad Latoya Pringle (Now Lara Sanders) putting on a gutty, fierce show. In the end, clutch free throws and some smooth shooting from Turkey’s “other” big, Nevriye Yilmazi, gave them the 62-61 victory.

There were scenes of jubilation for Turkey after overturning a double digit deficit to beat Serbia 62-61 in dramatic fashion and reach the Semi-Finals of the FIBA World Championship for Women.

Flat and uninspiring at both ends of the court when trailing 36-26, it had looked like the dreams of the host nation were in serious danger of being shattered.

But a remarkable turnaround ensured – no better highlighted by veteran legend Nevriye Yilmaz, who had been an eye-watering 0 of 14, but made her next three shots in a row to play a part in the revival.

“I am so happy with this victory and to beat a tough team like Serbia,” said Yilmaz afterwards.

It’s kinda nice to know that the refs are “on our side” when we play internationally: World Cup: Canada, France, Serbia, China make quarters; losers blame America

BTW: PHOTOS: Check out thesixthwoman’s tumblr for some sweet game photographs.

While we wait for tonight (and perhaps nap to stave off this wanna be cold) a little more of scenic Turkey, this time the Hagia Sophia:

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As the United States moves out of pool play unscathed (3-0) and prepares for their must-win matchup against France in Thursday night’s quarterfinal round of the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women, the memory of their exhibition loss against Les Bleues in Paris 11-days ago lingers.

“We didn’t play like we wanted to play,” said Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream). “We were sluggish, even a bit lazy.”

“They played really well and we didn’t,” echoed Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx). “We didn’t play with the level of focus and energy that was required to beat them on their home court. Losing a game is going to open your eyes,” Moore continued. “For us, we don’t want to be reminded of those lessons by taking a loss. But it happened. And we’re going to make the most of it by taking those feelings and motivation into tomorrow’s game.”

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at the moment.)

Until then, some of the sights:

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Easy Rider:

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Fresh pressed pomegranate, anyone?

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Yes, I know it’s cliché, but I don’t care. I bought a rug.

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Live and learn: I’m staying in Sultanahmet – the Old City on the European side Istanbul. The World Championship is held on the Asian side of Istanbul. So, to get there yesterday took several steps. Literally and figuratively.

First I walked past the Blue Mosque…

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and the Hagia Sophia…

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and then a beautiful water source…

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Then I took the tram from Cemberlitaş to Eminönü.

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I then crossed the street to the Kadıköy ferry dock.

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I then took the ferry to Karaköy.

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IMG_0201Then I took a taxi to the Ülker Sports Arena, where Angel plays for Fenerbahçe.

3BEE6722-635F-473F-8352-6812B5C3F07Aflexible

I got to watch a little of the U.S. practice – always a joy. Always an education. Then I got a few moments with Angel, Maya and coach Auriemma. Hopefully a piece in anticipation of tonight’s game will be put a Fullcourt (time differences make things intriguing), but a snippet, un-game related:

Though his focus in on the upcoming game, Auriemma took a moment to reflect on sharing this tournament with his former player from Connecticut, Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), the only U.S player to compete in four World Championships.

“I don’t want to speak for her, but chances are this is her last World Championship,” said Auriemma. “She’s been incredibly consistent, she’s been a great leader through all this. She’s someone that everyone on the team respects. And when she left college, I wasn’t thinking, ‘Wow, I’m going to get a chance to coach her for another eight-year period.’ That’s just too unrealistic.

But to be put back in that space – to be back in that time – and to see how good she was…. What people sometimes forget about Sue was that she was always great in the absolute biggest games. Like, in her senior year, the whole season she was just moving along, keeping everybody in the right place at the right time, and then, in the NCAA tournament, boom! She has the ability to raise the level of her game to meet the occasion.

 So, whether it’s this year or in the Olympics, I am going to savor the minutes because I think she’s a once in a lifetime kind of player. I’m going to finish my coaching career feeling like the luckiest person because most people only get to coach a person for four years and here I got to coach her for eight years.”

For more about the balancing acts and the upcoming game, here’s Doug:

College players in Turkey focus on hoops, class

UConn star Breanna Stewart and freshman teammate Kia Nurse have had more than basketball to focus on at the women’s world championship. They also have to keep up with school work from nearly 5,000 miles away.

And  US women’s basketball team set to take on France

Maya Moore and her U.S. teammates know what’s at stake now. A loss and their world championship run would be over.

Standing in the way of another trip to the medal round is France, a team that handed the Americans a rare defeat on Sept. 21 in an exhibition game. The teams will meet again in the quarterfinals of the tournament Friday night.

And Mechelle: Why Team USA’s other MVP is key – Tina Charles leads U.S. women into quarters vs. France on Friday (ESPN3, 2:15 ET)

Maya Moore is the reigning WNBA MVP. Diana Taurasi was the WNBA Finals MVP. Sue Bird is playing in her record fourth FIBA World Championship. Breanna Stewart is trying to win a world championship gold medal before starting her quest for a third NCAA title. And then …

There’s that other U.S. national team player with UConn ties. You remember her, right? The 2012 WNBA MVP? Won a couple of NCAA championships in Storrs, Connecticut? Part of a major trade back in April?

We’re kidding, of course. Nobody has forgotten about New York Liberty center Tina Charles. But on a team where there are so many noteworthy stories, Charles can kind of blend into the woodwork, as it were. Or be taken for granted. That might be a better way to put it.

And here’s USA Basketball: USA Enters Medal Round At 2014 FIBA World Championship

After three decisive preliminary-round wins, the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship is on to the must-win medal round at the 2014 FIBA World Championship.

Interestingly, the USA, the No. 1 seed out of Group D, will meet at 9:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT, NBA TV and ESPN3/WatchESPN) on Oct. 3 the only team to which it has lost (76-72) thus far in 2014 – albeit in exhibition play – France (3-1), the No. 2 seed out of Group B and the winner of yesterday’s quarterfinal play-in game against Brazil.

About Les Bleus:

France advanced to the quarterfinals after winning its play-in game, 61-48 over Brazil. The team opened prelim- inary play with a narrow 50-48 loss to host Turkey, before closing out pool play with an 89-45 victory over Mozambique and a close 63-59 defeat of Canada.

In France’s four games in Turkey, the team has been led by forward Sandrine Gruda (15.0 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) and guard Celine Dumerc (5.8 ppg., 5.6 apg.), both of whom also suited up for France in the 2012 Olympics.

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so twiddling my thumbs… so:

Don’t get fooled by the score, Serbia brought it against the US… and then some.

From Mechelle (who, I think, is writing from the mid-west?): Usual suspects step up for Team USA – Stars from Mercury, Lynx step up as USA Basketball clinches Group D’s top seed

The Americans’ 94-74 victory essentially guarantees them a flawless record in Group D play, as they go against far-overmatched Angola in the third game Tuesday (ESPN3, 2:30 p.m. ET). The toughest test in group play was expected to be Serbia, and that proved to be the case. It took until the fourth quarter for the U.S. team to put away the win, and it was the Mercury-Lynx combination that led the way in preventing the upset.

Looks like Doug’s long form game articles can be found directly on the AP site: US Women Hold Off Serbia 94-74

With Serbia hanging around midway through the fourth quarter, Diana Taurasi and the U.S. women’s basketball team stepped up their play to finally pull away.

Taurasi scored 13 of her 20 points in the final period and the Americans beat Serbia 94-74 on Sunday in the world championship to clinch the top seed in Group D.

“It was a tough game,” Taurasi said. “Every possession was a battle. They made us work on defense. There are some things we probably got to clean up. These games are good for us. This team hasn’t been together very long. In the two weeks that we’ve been together, we’ve been battle-tested a couple of times, which in the long run will only help us.”

Some UConn fans have made the trip, and give their inside the stands report.

USA Basketball is on YouTube:

They’re also online: USA Battles To 94-74 Win Over Serbia

The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (2-0) fought off a resilient Serbia (1-1) team that was within six points at the start of the fourth quarter before the USA pulled away for a 94-74 win in the 2014 FIBA World Championship on Sunday night at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.

From their fabulous “additional quotes” section:

Auriemma, on tonight’s game being so close through three quarters:

I think sometimes on the outside, people think you just show up, roll the ball out and we have 25 points right away. It doesn’t work that way. These are national teams. They have players that are good. They know how to make shots, they know how to play. They’re experienced. They play well together. So, it takes us time because this is our training camp. These games are kind of like our training camp. These last five or six games we played in Paris and here.

That’s a really, really good team that plays with a lot of heart, that plays with a lot of passion. I’m not surprised that the game was difficult. But, we have some amazing players on our team that when the game is to be won, they make winning plays.

This kid OH-gwu-MOO-kay is writing a blog:

From FIBA:

Canadian prospects benefit from learning curve

Veteran guard Kim Gaucher believes the future of the Canada backcourt is in safe hands despite suffering  first loss at the FIBA World Championship for Women.

Indeed Gaucher is hugely excited about what could follow, such is the current glut of emerging talent.

‘Nothing complicated, simple old school’ basketball keeps Aussies going

 Erin Phillips has been the live-wire of the Australian Opals squad, especially in the absence of Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage.

The Phoenix Mercury shooting guard was once again at the vanguard of another Australian win on Sunday – the second in as many games – assuring the team of place in the next round.

“The way we are playing is very good. There’s a lot of positive energy,” said the 29-year-old, who had four points, five rebounds and handed out a game-high seven assists.

Leuchanka wanted to go down fighting rather than be found want of trying

 Belarus needed back-to-back three-pointers inside the final 30 seconds of their game against fiesty Cuba to cap a 12-0 run in the last three minutes to pull off a Houdini-esque 70-69 win on Sunday at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

Leader Yelena Leuchanka had a beast of game with 20 points and a tournament-high 18 rebounds and played a expectedly pivotal role in that final outburst before Nadzeya Drozd and Katsiaryna Snytsina came up with the two makes from beyond the arc to ensure the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women Semi-Finalists will advance from the Group Phase.

Turkey, USA seal Quarter-Final spots on Day 2

Turkey and the United States won for the second day in a row at the FIBA World Championship for Women to clinch first place in their respective groups and spots in the Quarter-Finals.

Spain and the Czech Republic also prevailed to set up a battle for Group A supremacy, and both Australia and Belarus won their games to set up a Group C showdown for first.

Vesela finds that loving feeling

Jana Vesela is simply loving being back in a Czech Republic vest and helping her nation post a flying start to the FIBA World Championship for Women.

The veteran forward had a very different experience last year, when her first outing at EuroBasket Women 2013 ended in tears as she was carried off to hospital in agony.

Shao Ting stands tall leading China’s transition

 Shao Ting indeed is the perfect representation of the transition phase in Chinese women’s basketball.

Shao Ting had not figured in any of the many youth national teams that China developed and was almost a nobody until a sterling performance in her maiden WCBA season with the Beijing Great Wall paved the way for her inclusion in Maher’s ‘clean up’ mission.

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finish some stuff at work. But, before I go…

Here are a couple of write-ups on the US V China game. As per usual with the recent Auriemma teams, the US started slowly and China played fearlessly. Eventually, legs & stamina and better offensive flow won out.

USA Opens FIBA World Championship With 87-56 Win Over China

“It’s the kind of game that you would hope to have as the first game of the tournament, where you have to play really well against China defensively because they do a lot of good stuff on the offensive end,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut). “And we didn’t make any shots in the first half at all. I think in one possession we had six shots at the basket, and five of them were inside a foot-and-a-half, two feet. So, when we went in at halftime we talked about it, and then stuff started going in. So, it was good that we started the game in the first half under a little bit of duress and we finished the game on a high, so that’s great going into tomorrow against another really good team in Serbia.”

From Mechelle – Team USA Is More Than Just OK  – They weren’t flawless, but the Americans still dominated China in opener

The day before the United States faced China in the teams’ opener at the FIBA World Championship for Women, the Americans did their best to explain why — regardless of whether they really thought so — they might face some difficulties.

They said the Chinese were going to play hard, they would execute well, they would be persistent, they had size on the perimeter and they were not going to act intimidated.

But the best quote the American side had about Saturday’s game came from Angel McCoughtry, thanks to her simple honesty: “I think we’ll be OK against China.”

From Lee at Full Court: Griner throws down historic first Women’s World Championship dunk while leading U.S. to 87-56 win over China

 She’s arrived.

Brittney Griner may have been late to the Team USA party, but on Saturday’s opening day of the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul, Turkey, she finally arrived on the world basketball scene in her first major international competition. It was quite a debut!

From Nick Z: Brittney Griner leads U.S. past early China test in Worlds opener

Favorite moment? The Dunk? The announcers “Ack SENT on the wrong syLAble of NO’s name? Augustus’ ridiculous move? No. Maya’s dance (?) move in REACTION to Augustus’ play. Too funny.

WILL be back for US v. Serbia on NBATV & ESPN streaming (why isn’t there a 3/4 mode for the video display???). Until then, here be some notes from the hard-working folks at USA Basketball:

Making an historic first appearance at the FIBA World Championship, Serbia in its opening game was up 22-10 over Angola after the first quarter, and continued to roll to a 102-42 victory on Sept. 27 in Istanbul.

All 12 players scored for Serbia, led by 16 from Jelena Milovanovic (8-13 FGs) and 15 points from Dajana Butulija (6-11 FGs, 2-4 3pt FGs). Serbia scored 29 points off of 27 Angolan turnovers, outscored Angola 43-12 off the bench and outrebounded Angola 40-25.

“We haven’t seen much of them,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma. “We didn’t see them in the Czech Republic or London. But, I had seen them when we were scouting the European Championship. They’re really tough. They’re really aggressive. They put a lot of pres- sure on you with their defense. They play an aggressive kind of offense, where they’re attacking you all the time. It’s a country that has a tremendous culture of basketball.”

USA vs. Serbia: All-Time Record

USA Basketball women are 1-0 all-time against Serbia, having played the nation once at the 2009 World University Games preliminary round.

The USA’s team featured current U.S. members Tina Charles and Maya Moore.

After a first-quarter fight from Serbia, which was host- ing the 2009 WUGs in Belgrade, the USA buckled down on defense and held its opponent to just 36.7 shooting from the field overall to secure a 84-50 win and Group A’s No. 1 seed headed into the second round. Charles, who shot 8-of-10 from the field, led the USA with 17 points.

The USA went on to capture gold with a 7-0 mark, while host Serbia finished in 11th place with a 3-4 record.

Join the twit-versation at: https://twitter.com/usabasketball

There are other games going on, btw, so check out http://www.fiba.com/turkey2014 for news. Here’s something on the Canadians.

Now I MUST go to work and start packing!!!!

P.S. And yes, we know that ESPN has screwed up and not uploaded the archive of the US game (other games, yes.) I know annoyed UConn fans are doing everything they can to ensure that ESPN is on the problem, weekend or not!

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