USA vs. Croatia Women's Basketball: Live Score, Stats & Recap
Women's Olympic basketball kicks off on Saturday for Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Sue Bird and the rest of Team USA as they face off against the Croatian national team.
The Americans are heavily favored and should have this game locked up by halftime, unless Andja Jelavic and newly-married Marija Vrsaljko can play the games of their lives for Croatia.
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Team USA uses a terrific fourth quarter to win by 25 points as the bench and starters both absolutely dominated the final period.
Angel McCoughtry was the sparkplug off the bench, making five of her six shots to score 13 points in limited action during her first Olympic game.
Tina Charles was also a key contributor for Team USA, recording 14 points and 10 rebounds throughout the game.
Croatia hung tough for the first three quarters, but the American talent ended up prevailing at the end.
Geno Auriemma has to be pleased with his team's performance when the going got tough and the unexpected test should end up helping the Americans in the long run.
They'll have to step up their game when the competition gets better though.
For Croatia, this was a very encouraging showing as Marija Vrsaljko and Selena Ivezic dominated after a brutal first quarter. If they can hang with the Americans—even on a day when Team USA shot 44 percent from the field, 64 percent from the line and turned the ball over 20 times—they could surprise some teams as the competition progresses.
Final Score: 81-56 USA
Sue Bird tries to make a little bit too much happen and passes to empty space, but it's not going to matter as the clock ticks down towards an American victory.
Her next pass is a bit better and allows Angel McCoughtry to get to the free throw line.
79-56 USA with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
Tamika Catchings follows a missed shot with a nice tip-in and then closes out beautifully on a thre-point attempt by Croatia.
Jelena Ivezic continues to shoot tremendously though and now has 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting.
77-56 USA with 2:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Team USA puts on a passing display and finds Sue Bird in the corner for an open three-pointer to push the suddenly ballooning lead to over 20 points.
Croatia answers with a nice step-around and finish, but the Americans respond right back on a nice inbounds play that left Maya Moore with an easy shot in the paint.
75-54 USA with 3:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Tamika Catchings has the play of the game with a nice Eurostep to get around her defender and a scooped layup to finish the play while drawing a foul. It was an absolutely beautiful shot on so many levels, especially because she connected on the and-one free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play.
Jelena Ivezic hits another three-pointer, but the Americans are still running away with this one in the fourth quarter.
69-52 USA with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It's another big substitution for Team USA as all five players on the court head to the bench. The substitutes did a wonderful job to extend the lead.
Maya Moore uses her fresh legs to drop in a jumper from the free-throw line and make it an 11-0 run.
64-49 USA with 6:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Swin Cash enters the game for Team USA and makes an immediate impact.
She gets the ball in traffic and finishes the three-point play to give the Americans a double-digit lead.
Lindsay Whalen leads the fast break on the next possession and passes it ahead to Tina Charles for an easy two points.
Croatian head coach Stipe Bralic does the right thing and calls a timeout to slow the onslaught by the Americans.
62-49 USA with 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Former Missouri guard and NBA Summer League standout Kim English is tuning in and has a suggestion for Geno Auriemma:
Geno needs to call the press off! Press good guards and you give up layups.— Kim English (@Englishscope24) July 28, 2012
English is correct, as Team USA has allowed far too many easy points and hasn't created many opportunities for themselves with the press.
Seimone Augustus follows her own shot and knocks down her second try to give the Americans a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Team USA wasn't expecting this game to be quite so close and needs to come out with intensity for the final period, particularly on the defensive end.
The scoring has been balanced for the USA as Angel McCoughtry, Lindsay Whalen, Candace Parker and Tina Charles all have at least eight points.
Croatia hasn't employed the same balance, as Marija Vrsaljko and Jelena Ivezic have paced the team with 17 points apiece.
53-47 USA at the end of the third quarter.
Angel McCoughtry continues to light it up off the bench as she makes shot after shot. Lindsay Whalen's passing has been beautiful lately.
Unfortunately for Team USA, Marija Vrslajko has been impossible to stop lately in the paint and finishes with contact to bring her scoring total up to 17 points.
51-47 USA with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Lindsay Whalen runs the fast break beautifully, calls her own number and knocks down the running layup from the right side to capitalize on Angel McCoughtry's block.
Sylvia Fowles had a chance to extend the lead, but is instead called for an offensive foul on the next possession as she leads with her shoulder a bit too much.
49-42 USA with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter.
The Americans attempt to bring the pressure on the perimeter and front Marija Vrsaljko, but it doesn't work as an entry pass allows the post player to draw a foul and make both freebies.
An entry pass fails for Team USA on the other end and gives the Americans yet another turnover. Ana Lelas makes them pay as she penetrates into the paint and hits a wide-open Vrsaljko, who banks it in to give herself an even dozen in the game.
43-40 USA with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.
Geno Auriemma makes some substitutions and goes with an entirely new squad on the court, hoping that the cold shooting can finally come to an end with some fresh legs.
The Atlanta Dream's Angel McCoughtry goes coast-to-coast and finishes with a tough layup, surely with the intention of making the head coach's decision look good.
I'd like to see Team USA continue to push the pace and use their collective athleticism to their advantage.
41-36 USA with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Diana Taurasi continues to draw iron, this time missing a wide-open three pointer from the left corner.
The rebound goes right to Candace Parker, who is held down as she attempts to elevate and capitalizes on both free throws.
39-36 USA with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Ana Lelas may be 0-of-7 from the field, but a beautiful pass to a cutting Luca Ivankovic creates an easy bucket. Then Croatia ties up the contest once more with yet another open jumper.
Tina Charles makes one of her two foul shots to re-take the lead.
37-36 USA with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Team USA must do a better job of closing out and sticking with Jelena Ivezic. She makes another jumper and now has 15 points in the game.
Tina Charles draws the foul of Luca Ivankovic and makes both free throws to push the margin back to four points and hit double figures in the scoring column.
36-32 USA with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Jelena Ivezic is up to 13 points in the game as she hits a deep two from the left side of the court. Apparently she can do more than just drain three-pointers!
Candace Parker can't connect on both of her free throws, sinking just one as the Americans continue to struggle from the line. She makes up for it on the next possession with a driving layup.
34-30 USA with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter.
Croatia opens the third quarter with a traveling violation and then foul the Americans, who continue to set high screen after high screen.
Sandra Mandir begins the half on the bench as she continues to recover from the hard shot she took in the second quarter.
31-28 USA with 9:00 remaining in the third quarter.
Even though the Croatians are hanging with the Americans thus far, it's still clear that there's a significant talent gap, especially with great player after great player coming off the bench for Team USA.
The Americans made only 14 of their 37 shots from the field during the first half, went only 1-of-4 from the charity stripe and coughed the ball up 12 times. That cold shooting and sloppy play isn't going to continue forever, not with the best players in the world on the court.
Croatia used some hot shooting from Jelena Ivezic to keep the score close, as the Ceyhan Belediyespor wing player drilled three of her five shots from downtown London and posted a game-high 11 points during the first half.
Geno Auriemma should calm the Americans down in the locker room and have them ready to break this game open during the second half.
Candace Parker makes a mid-range shot to take the lead for the USA and then Jelena Ivezic knocks down another three-pointer.
The defense continues to look nonexistent for the Americans, despite the fantastic showing on that end of the court during the first quarter.
Team USA holds for the last shot of the quarter, but Sue Bird misses her shot after using a screen to free herself on the right side of the perimeter.
31-28 USA at halftime.
Diana Taurasi responds with a three of her own to tie the game for the Americans. That was Taurasi's first bucket of the game after missing her first three shots, two of which came from behind the three-point arc.
26-26 with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter.
The Americans are called for their third foul when setting picks as Sandra Mandir heads to the bench with a possible rib injury from one of those illegal screens.
Tamika Catchings hits a jumper to finally put some more points on the board, and Croatia responds with a three-pointer to re-take the lead by Jelena Ivezic.
26-23 Croatia with 2:31 remaining in the second quarter.
Another turnover by the Americans—their 10th of the game—gives Croatia the ball and Luca Ivankovic drops in the easy bucket to take their first lead of the game.
Team USA continues to miss easy shots and is now just 10-of-29 from the field.
23-21 Croatia with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter.
Luca Ivankovic hits a three-pointer for Croatia from the top of the key as the Croatians continue to play gritty basketball and close the gap. Another three, their fourth of the gap, narrows the margin to just a single point.
This contest is starting to look a lot different than the 55-point blowout by the Americans in the exhibition match between the two teams.
21-20 USA with 5:08 remaining in the second quarter.
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