Los Angeles, CA -- The USA Select team gave coach Geno Auriemma and the USA National team a run for their money in the nail-biter game Monday in Los Angeles, where the USA National team kicked off their road to the Olympics with an 88-84 win over the USA Select team.
The Select team brought the energy early in the first quarter and gave their fellow Americans and WNBA players a friendly competition. One select player, in particular, looked to be reserving her spot for the 2020 summer Olympics.
Seattle Storm guard, Jewell Loyd, made seven points in the first quarter alone. This helped to aid the select team to a 22-17 lead over the USA National team to end the first.
This was just the beginning of an outstanding run for Loyd, who capped off the game with a total of 20 points.
Coach Auriemma took note of the effort, and the lack of fear put in by the Select team, following the game he commented on their performance.
"I thought the way the Select Team played was really cool," he said. "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."
However, it was USA National player Maya Moore who brought her "A" game. Moore along with Tina Charles, Angel McCoughtry and, fellow Minnesota Lynx teammate Lindsay Whalen, are all attempting to receive their second Olympic gold medal.
Moore proved in tonight's game that she was on the road to a second gold medal.
Moore had a slower start to begin the first quarter, but managed to bounce back fast, putting up five points in the second. One of those being nothing but net, a vital three-pointer that made the perfect swish sound when it went in. That was the noise to start the game for Moore.
From there it was just more and more from Moore, as she managed to put up two points in the third and four in the fourth, giving her a total of 11 points. Tying with Rookie Elena Delle Donne for the highest points made by a player on the USA National team in the game.
Coach Auriemma spoke July 21 during a teleconference regarding Moore, whom he has spent his fair share of time working with both at the collegiate level at UConn and in the 2012 Olympic games.
"I like to talk about Maya a lot," Auriemma said. "Maya plays in Minnesota on a great team, just won three championships in her four years in the league, and Maya knows one thing, ‘every time I get it, I'm open, I'm shooting it. And every chance I get to score points’ I'm doing it because that is what I do.’"
It is safe to say Coach Auriemma knows all of his players, especially Moore. He hit it spot on, and she proved him right, when she let America know she will not be passing up any opportunities to take a shot on her road to Rio.
Moore aided the USA National team in closing the gap on the Select team with just 35 seconds left in the game. Moore's two free throws helped to give the National team an 88-84 lead over the USA select team.
However, similar to Coach Auriemma, Moore also spoke very highly of the USA Selects effort to really give their all against the National team.
"They played hard, and they were aggressive," she said. "When we tried some things, and they didn't work out, they took advantage of them, we really appreciate their competitiveness, and I think it helped us prep for Rio."
They will continue their preparation to the 2016 Olympics in Rio when they take on France in Delaware on July 27.