EKATERINBURG, Russia -- Nykesha Sales scored 21 points to
help TEO Vilnius beat the United States women's select team 79-76
at the FIBA World League tournament Tuesday.
The United States team features many players who were part of
the squad that recently qualified for the Olympics by winning the
FIBA Americas tournament in Chile last month, including Seimone
Augustus, Sue Bird, Kara Lawson, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith and
Taurasi scored 16 points and Janel McCarville added 15 to lead
the U.S in the loss.
The Americans struggled in the first half, shooting just 29
percent (10-for-35). Vilnius built a 39-30 halftime advantage
"She was pretty much unconscious in the first half," said Bird
of Sales. "Almost everything she threw up there, the fadeaways,
the 3-pointer that banked in, were going in."
The U.S. rallied in the third quarter behind Smith and tied the
game at 47 heading into the final period.
TEO Vilnius hit three 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter and
the U.S. couldn't come back. TEO Vilnius is made up of mostly
Lithuanian players. Besides Sales, the only other American on the
team is Kristin Haynie, who played this past season for the
Sacramento Monarchs. Sales led Connecticut to the WNBA playoffs.
"This was a very disappointing game for us, that's for sure,"
said U.S. coach Anne Donovan. "We didnt play with a lot of
intensity tonight and I give TEO a lot of credit, they played very
With the loss, the U.S. fell to 1-1 in the Group B pool. The
Americans routed the two-time defending champion Canberra Capitals
93-49 on Monday. The U.S. will face CSKA Moscow on Wednesday with a
berth in the semifinals at stake.
"It's a very competitive tournament. These are the best club
teams from Europe," said Donovan. "We knew coming over here that
this was going to be a great tournament, a great test for us. Once
again we were shown that there is some strong competition here."