Elena Delle Donne and Maya Moore each scored 11 points on Monday night in Los Angeles as the USA Basketball Women's National Team beat the USA Select Team 88-84 at the University of Southern California.
The National Team is after its sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal when the Olympics begin in August. For now the team is tuning up. Angel McCoughtry and Lindsay Whalen each scored nine points for the National Team.
Natasha Howard led the USA Select Team, which is made up of up-and-coming WNBA stars who could be future Olympians, with a game-high 24 points. Jewell Loyd added 20 points and a game-high seven assists, and Odyssey Sims scored 17 points and had six assists for the Select Team.
"I thought the way the Select Team played was really cool," National Team coach Geno Auriemma said in a press release from USA Basketball. "They played as if they play against these guys all the time, which they do. There wasn't going to be any sense of intimidation of who they are, which is why we play these games. We need the challenges. We need to look at different combinations and figure out what works for us and what doesn't.
"For us, in the two days we've been together, we did a lot of really good things and we're going to get better and better every day. And for the future of USA Basketball, there were some unbelievably positive signs out there of what the next group could potentially look like. It was a good day, I think, all the way around."
Auriemma won gold with the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics in London.
The Select Team trailed by 12 heading into the fourth quarter but led 78-76 with 3:39 left in the game. Former UConn star Breanna Stewart made three crucial baskets down the stretch for the National Team while another former Husky, Moore, had four important free throws to seal the victory. Stewart had eight points as did Tina Charles, another former UConn player who plays for the New York Liberty of the WNBA.
"We are focused on the whole process, the whole journey, and this was just the first game," National Team guard Sue Bird said. "We've only had a couple practices together, so it was really good to be challenged in that way by the Select Team. It really showed what we're going to need to work on and the level that we have to play at moving forward."
The National Team plays Wednesday in Delaware (France, 7:30 p.m.), Friday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport (Canada, 7 p.m.), and Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York (Australia, 4 p.m.).