The U.S. women’s basketball team got to stretch its legs for the first time since coming together for training camp Monday with an exhibition against Canada Saturday night in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The Americans trailed much of the game, but that didn’t last after a push in the fourth quarter took Team USA to a 74-68 win.
Behind 40-28 at the half, the U.S. cut the lead to 62-58 with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the game. A minute later the game was tied. With 1:50 to go, the U.S. had jumped out to a 69-64 lead following a 17-2 run.
The game was an opportunity for coach Dawn Staley to evaluate the players hoping to wear the red, white and blue when the U.S. begins the quest for its 10th FIBA World Cup gold medal, beginning Sept. 22 in Tenerife, Spain.
One player who certainly made a case for herself was A’ja Wilson, who is coming off one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the WNBA. Staley was more than familiar with Wilson, of course, having coached her at South Carolina, but this year’s top pick in the WNBA draft impressed nonetheless with 15 points and 10 rebounds. She was 3-of-8 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line.
Morgan Tuck had nine points and five rebounds and Elizabeth Williams had eight points and three rebounds.
The U.S. was without some of its bigger names, who are either still involved in the WNBA playoffs or whose teams were recently eliminated, including four-time Olympic champions Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi and 2016 players Breanna Stewart, Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner.
The team in Connecticut featured two-time Olympic gold medalist Tina Charles, 2014 Youth Olympic gold medalist and UConn senior Napheesa Collier, 2014 World Cup champions Nneka Ogwumike and Odyssey Simms, and 2015 Pan American Games silver medalists Tiffany Mitchell and Kelsey Plum.
A total of 18 players attended the most recent training camp in South Carolina. Twelve will compete at the World Cup.