Sales' 21 points help TEO Vilnius upset U.S. select squad
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 Diana Taurasi.
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 behind Sales.
"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 well."
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."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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