Tina Charles finished with 11 points and four rebounds vs. Croatia. (Credit: Joe Toth-US PRESSWIRE)
Apparently all the United States needed to snap out of their offensive funk was a first quarter against Croatia in exhibition play in Istanbul, Turkey. The ladies in red, white and blue shot a blistering 70.8 percent from the field in the first quarter to take a 38-13 lead into the second and set a dominating tone.
By halftime, every woman on the U.S. team - including Sue Bird, who had been absent after the loss of her stepfather - had seen the scoreboard. Their 62-23 lead at the break was fueled by balanced scoring in which Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi both contributed nine points apiece. The two would finish with that amount for the game.
By the end of the 109-55 throttling, Sylvia Fowles would be the team's high scorer with 15 points, followed closely by Candace Parker's 14-point outing. Seimone Augustus and Tina Charles also contributed double-digit efforts in the lopsided win. Bird finished with eight points, five assists and four rebounds after rejoining the team in Turkey.
Team USA follows this game with their final exhibition before the Olympics tomorrow against Turkey in Turkey. When the U.S. women tip off at the Games next weekend it will be against this very Croatian team, making their first Olympic appearance.