The U.S. women’s basketball team played in another exhibition contest that started slow but ended in a win as Team USA continues to build toward the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup beginning later this month.
Two nights after coming from behind to beat Canada, the U.S. pulled off another late-game surge to top Japan, 102-87, Monday night at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
A’ja Wilson, who just completed one of the best rookie campaigns in WNBA history with the Las Vegas Aces, once again led the team in scoring with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 mark at the line. She had 15 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s win over Canada.
Nneka Ogwumike had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds while two-time Olympic gold medalist Tina Charles had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Team USA opened training camp on Sept. 3 with 18 players and will pare that number down to 12 before the World Cup opens on Sept. 20. The World Cup roster will likely include athletes who recently finished, or are still currently, playing in the WNBA. This was the second and final chance for players hoping to prove themselves to coach Dawn Staley before the team announces the roster that will travel to France. That group of players will play another three exhibition games in advance of the tournament.
Japan took a 24-22 lead after the first quarter and held a narrow 46-45 lead at the half. But as was the case on Saturday against Canada, the U.S. began to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by two at the start of the final quarter, Team USA went on a 21-2 run as Odyssey Sims (5 points), Ogwumike (4 points), Kelsey Plum (6 points), Wilson (4 points) and Tiffany Mitchell (2 points) combined for the U.S. on that big run. They kept running and never looked back.