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Taurasi's fire ignites Team USA's 104-89 rout of Australia

It doesn’t matter if you’ve played in the Olympics four times or if this is your debut, on Team USA they can all shoot. A stunning 104-89 victory in New York was the necessary send off before the team’s trip to Rio.

New York, N.Y. -€” With one last stop before Rio, Team USA completed its Olympic showcase in Madison Square Garden against Australia.

The finale in The Garden wasn't just by fluke. Team USA's head coach Geno Auriemma said it's been in the cards all along.

"When we were trying to put the thing together, arrange this trip, we really wanted to end it here...This is where I wanted the USA Women's National Team to have their last appearance in the United States. Here. Because there's no place like Madison Square Garden," said Auriemma.

Erin Phillips came out firing for Australia striking first to take an early 2-0 lead.

It didn't take long for one of the WNBA's best shooters to take over.  Maya Moore put Team USA on the board with a three, followed by a trick move that set up her jump shot, tying the game at five.

Five lead changes in the first quarter alone, but once Elena Delle Donne took the court, Australia was always struggling to keep up.

"I think the biggest thing about our team is our depth," said Delle Donne. "When we come in, we really have to come in and pedal to the metal, play the best we can and then give people a rest and let them come in and do the same."

Delle Donne came off the bench knocking in three in a row, tying the game at 17, then again at 21. By the end of the first, she led both sides with 11 total points.

Another consistency in the first half was the amount of times Angel McCoughtry hit the court on hard fouls by Australia.

She took advantage, making all her shots to follow up Delle Donne's 17 points with the second most points on Team USA with 12. She went 4-for-5 in the field and 4-for-4 in free throws.

In the second quarter, the U.S. took its biggest lead of the game, up by 16.

The WNBA's leading scorer Tina Charles, was cold through the first half, only registering one point. However, the strong bench helped to disguise Charles' lack of points.

There's nothing but depth for Team USA, as the bench rallied for 35 points before halftime.

Leilani Mitchell kept her team in the game posting 16 points before heading to the locker room. She ended the second quarter on a jump shot, closing in on USA's lead, 54-48.

One could imagine that Team USA's head coach Geno Auriemma discussed the lack of defensive effort in the first, allowing Australia to score 48 points.

Four-time Olympian Diana Taurasi, came out of the half making a complete 180, putting up her 10th point of the third just over four minutes in.

"I think it's a good sign that we come out of the half playing strong. It kind of sets a tone for the rest of the game. I think that's the one thing we really focus on in these four games is coming out of halftime and setting a tone early in those second halves," said Taurasi.

After sinking her 15th point of the quarter and 20th overall, Auriemma gave his veteran some rest, stalling the team's consistent shooting.

"Maybe because I've been around her a long time, four years of college and through these last eight years with the Olympic team, I've always been of the opinion that as long as we have Diana Taurasi on the court playing with our team that we have a chance to win every single game that we play," said Auriemma.

Australia may have figured out Delle Donne, but it was too little too late with an 85-69 lead and just under a minute to go in the third.

Elizabeth Cambage entered the final quarter with 20 points and Mitchell followed with 18.

"I thought our post players did a pretty good job," said Auriemma. "I spent all of yesterday doing the little walk through that we had and this morning on film telling Tina, Sylvia and BG, listen I want you guys to stop this kid at the foul line... As hard as you try, there's nothing you can do to stop someone like Cambage. There's nobody like her playing basketball right now."

The fourth kicked off the U-S-A chants from the crowd knowing full well how much of a lead their team had at 89-71.

The U.S. spent the last 10 minutes of the game out of attack mode and in protection mode. Australia was relentless and continuing to score.

One player that had the crowd pumped up was four-time Olympian Sue Bird. She had her chance to shoot a three and get the crowd going, but did not take the shot.

"I should've shot it man, big regret. Of course, I heard them," said Bird in reference to the energetic Madison Square Garden crowd. She ended the night scoreless.

As they inched closer 96-84, Brittney Griner put up her 11th point of the game to extend Team USA's security blanket.

One play later, Griner went to the line and completed two free throws, putting up Team USA's 100th point.

A slow fourth quarter offensively for the U.S. ended the way it started, with Delle Donne slamming one and Griner with a shot clock-beating jumper.

"That's always been our wild card since I put on USA basketball since I was part of that bench in 2004," said Taurasi. "Now you look at our bench it's just that starting five that gets in the game a little later. The havoc they create for us. It's a luxury we always have and today that paid off big time."

A New York send-off for Team USA ended in a 104-89 victory over Australia, but both teams know, the odds of meeting again are very good.

"Obviously, we played a great team. They're as good as everyone thinks they are, and they've got some terrific players, and they're really really hard to play against. It was a real test for us that we really needed at this particular time," said Auriemma.