US women's hoop team gets day off, beat Turkey
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By DOUG FEINBERG,
Updated August 2, 2012
LONDON (AP) After cruising through their first three Olympic basketball games, the U.S. women's team is getting a day off.
It's the first day the players will have to themselves since the team got together on July 14.
"Any day off we've had is because we've been flying," Auriemma said. Thursday is "one of the first days they are going to do nothing. We'll come back Friday feeling great about ourselves."
Auriemma plans to walk around London and take in some of the sites.
"I'm not going to do a lot," he said. "I want to make sure these guys had some time to themselves, it's going to help us a lot."
A scary thought since the U.S. has won its first three games by an average of 39 points, including Wednesday's 89-58 victory over Turkey. The Turks had won their first two games and hung tough with the Americans in an exhibition contest in Istanbul last month.
Angel McCoughtry scored 18 points and Tina Charles added 16 Wednesday in the Americans' win as team's depth wore Turkey down.
Coming off the bench is a new role for McCoughtry, who has started for almost her entire career since high school. It's a role she thrives in.
"Honestly not starting has been the best thing for my career," she said. "I've gained discipline and I think before I didn't have the discipline. This took my game to another level."
Turkey was expected to give the Americans their toughest test in the Olympics so far. The Turks had looked impressive in their first Olympic appearance and said they weren't intimidated by the top-ranked team in the world.
They hung close early, taking a one-point lead in the first quarter before McCoughtry helped the Americans build a 15-point advantage by the half.
Turkey didn't waiver, coming within 50-45 in the third quarter before McCoughtry and the reserves put the game away.
Her three-point play started a 13-2 run. On the Americans' next possession she missed a 3-pointer, but hustled for the offensive rebound and found Maya Moore for an easy lay-in.
Lindsay Whalen then took over, scoring six of the final eight points during the burst to make it 63-47 after three quarters much to the delight of LeBron James, who was in attendance along with some of the other men's Olympic team. The Turks could get no closer in the fourth quarter.
"Our second unit came in and did a good job of pushing tempo and forcing turnovers," center Candace Parker said. "Angel had a heck of a game today. Coach said in the locker room it was the second unit that made the difference."
Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth led Turkey (2-1) with 11 points. She was born in American, but became a naturalized to play for Turkey in May.
"It was a great experience," Hollingsworth said of the game. "We could have done better, but when you give away so many second-chance opportunities you can't really get back into the game. They stepped it up a level."
The Americans played without center Sylvia Fowles for the second straight game because she was resting a sore left foot. She also sat out the team's 52-point win over Angola on Monday night.
Next up for the U.S. on Friday is the Czech Republic, which beat Croatia 89-70 for its first win. After playing, practicing or traveling for the last two weeks the Americans will take Thursday off.
The Americans close out pool play Sunday against China, which is also 3-0 after routing Angola 76-52. China has already clinched a spot in the quarterfinal.
Also Wednesday, France edged Canada 64-60 to advance to the next round. Russia remained unbeaten with a 67-61 win over Britain. The Russians also advanced to the quarterfinals. Australia rebounded from its first loss to a non-American team in the Olympics since 1996 with a 67-61 victory over Brazil.
Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dougfeinberg