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    Team USA Downs Croatia, 81-56, in Olympic Opener

    UCONNHUSKIESDOTCOM Sue Bird is competing in her third Olympic games.
    UCONNHUSKIESDOTCOM
    Sue Bird is competing in her third Olympic games.
    UCONNHUSKIESDOTCOM

    July 28, 2012

    UConn Olympics Central | Read Keith Anderson's Friday Entry

    Stats From Saturday's Game | AP Photo Gallery

    Former University of Connecticut women's basketball star Tina Charles led the USA Basketball women's national team in scoring with 14 points as Team USA defeated Croatia by an 81-56 score on Saturday in London.  The game marked the first of five preliminary round contests for the US.  Team USA has now won 34-straight games in Olympic play, dating back to the bronze medal game victory in 1992.

    Team USA is led by head UConn coach Geno Auriemma and six former Husky greats.  Besides Charles, Team USA includes Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi.

    Team USA will square-off against Angola on Monday, July 30 at 5:15 p.m. EDT.  The contest will take place in the Basketball Arena at Olympic Park in London and will be televised by the NBC Sports Network.

    Charles, who played for UConn from 2006-2010 and led the Huskies to a pair of national championships, was 5-of-11 from the floor and also snared 10 rebounds.  Taurasi, who was in Storrs from 2000-04 and won three national championships, added eight points, three assists and three rebounds in 27-minutes of action while Bird, who was the starting point guard on UConn's second perfect season in 2002, scored five points and dished-out five helpers.


     

     

    Although the US won this one by 25 points, it took a while for the Red White and Blue to shake Croatia.  Croatia trailed by only six points, 53-47, at the end of the third quarter and whittled the deficit to four points after a short jumper made it 53-49 with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.

    However, Team USA scored the next 17 points over a 4:30 stretch to put this one away.

    The US held Croatia to 38-percent shooting and forced Croatia into 18 turnovers.  Team USA shot a solid 48-percent from the floor and held a 57-32 rebounding edge, including a 20-9 advantage on the offensive glass.

    Three time national player of the year Moore got in some early foul trouble and scored four points and added four rebounds in 11-minutes.  The other two Huskies, Cash and Jones saw limited action on Saturday.