Whalen, Team USA Defeat Turkey to Remain Perfect in Prelims
Aug. 1, 2012
The USA women's basketball team and former Gopher Lindsay Whalen improved to a perfect 3-0 in the Group A preliminaries of the London 2012 Olympic Games Wednesday night after defeating Turkey, 89-58, at the Olympic Basketball Arena.
"What we lack in preparation time we make up for in the quality of our depth," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "We have to use it to the best of our advantage. That second group led by Lindsay (Whalen) and Angel (McCoughtry) was the difference in the game."
Whalen put together her best performance of the Games to date, as she was one of three Americans to score in double figures with 14 points, while adding seven rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals. The Minnesota superstar shot .710 (5-7) from the field and connected on four of her five free throw attempts, while three of her seven rebounds were of the offensive variety.
"Like Coach (Auriemma) said, myself and the second group kind of helped out," Whalen said. "We just tried to bring energy, get out there on defense and made sure we're getting good shots on offense. We did those things well tonight."
Team USA's bench accounted for 56 of the team's 89 points in the contest, proving that the American squad has enough depth to play any given player at any given time and still dominate its opponents, which includes first-time Olympian, Whalen.
"Lindsay's just an old fashioned guard from back in the day, the way she looks, the way she plays," Auriemma said. "When I watched her in the pros before I had the chance to coach her I was like, `man, this kid doesn't have any fun playing. She needs to smile more. She needs to love life and enjoy herself.' When I got to know her a little bit at the World Championships and people ask me what was the most surprising part of the (USA) World Championship Team for you, and I say Lindsay Whalen. Her attitude, the work ethic that she brings, the confidence that I have in her is unquestioned. She belongs here, some people might not have not known that until she won a WNBA Championship last year, but she's belonged here for a long time and I'm proud to have her."
The squad will return to the court Friday vs. the Czech Republic , with the contest set to get underway at 4:15 p.m.