Team USA beats Baylor for fourth win on eight-game college tour
WACO, Texas -- Diana Taurasi had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Sue Bird added 14 points to help the U.S. national team beat No. 15 Baylor 82-56 on Tuesday night. It was the national team's fourth victory over a Top 25 team.
The U.S. women are halfway through an eight-game college tour. They have also defeated defending NCAA women's champion and No. 1-ranked Tennessee, second-ranked Connecticut and fourth-ranked Maryland. The victory at Baylor was the most lopsided, though they led by only one point at the half.
"We're getting good competition," U.S. coach Anne Donovan said. "Every time we step out on the court, we're getting good preparation for Beijing."
Lisa Leslie had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the U.S. team. Seimone Augustus and Taj McWilliams-Franklin each had 12 points.
Jessica Morrow led Baylor with 17 points. Angela Tisdale, the Lady Bears' lone senior, had 14 points and Rachel Allison had 12 rebounds.
Taurasi opened the second half with a 3-pointer. She then made a layup with 16:19 left to cap a 9-0 run to start the second half that stretched the U.S. team's lead to 43-33. Baylor never got closer than seven points after that.
"With all the travel we've been doing, the motor sometimes takes a little longer to get started," Taurasi said. "We did some different things on offense and defense [after halftime], and they worked out."
Plagued by 12 turnovers in the first half, the U.S. team blew an early 14-5 lead. But Bird's two free throws with 49 seconds left before halftime put the U.S. ahead to stay, and she added a 3-pointer only 23 seconds later to make it 34-30.
"Baylor came out really aggressive, and we didn't come out so sharp," Donovan said. "We did a good job regrouping and coming out in the second half."
Tisdale hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to get Baylor within 34-33. Her jumper with five minutes left in the first half capped a 9-0 run put Baylor up 23-22. Morrow had four free throws in that stretch, two after a technical foul on McWilliams-Franklin.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was a member of the 1984 U.S. team that won gold at the Los Angeles Olympics. One of her teammates was Donovan.
"It was just a matter of time before Taurasi and those guys quit playing and toying with you and nailed shots," Mulkey said.
Jamie Carey joined the U.S. team on Tuesday as the replacement for Loree Moore, who left the team Friday because of left knee aggravation. Carey scored two points in 10 minutes.
The U.S. team plays Thursday at 12th-ranked Arizona State before games against Texas A&M, USC and seventh-ranked Stanford.
"The ultimate goal is China," Taurasi said. "Hopefully, this helps us become a better team down the road."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press