NEWARK, Del. — Tina Charles scored 17 points and Maya Moore added 13 to help the U.S. women’s basketball team beat France 84-62 on Wednesday night in an exhibition game.
The game was a rematch of the 2012 London Olympics gold medal game that the Americans won 86-50. This time the U.S. took a half to get going, which wasn’t a total surprise as the Americans have had little training since getting together for the first time as a full team Saturday in Los Angeles.
They played Monday night against a U.S. select team, winning by four, before flying across country for this three-game exhibition series. France’s core has been together for months qualifying for the Rio Olympics in a last chance tournament in June.
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The U.S. only led by one at the half, but used a 9-2 spurt to start the third quarter spearheaded by Charles and Moore to create some space. The Americans extended the lead to 63-46 after three quarters.
France couldn’t get within 15 the rest of the way.
The game was a homecoming for Elena Delle Donne. She’s from the area and starred at the University of Delaware, guiding the team to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals her senior year.
A loud, spirited crowd gave her quite the ovation when she was announced before the start of the game. She addressed the sellout crowd before the tip saying:
"Puts me at a loss for words, thank you so, so much for coming out," said Delle Donne, who finished with 10 points.
With the U.S. leading 12-9 early on, Delle Donne made a hustle play on the defensive end, sprinted down the court and was rewarded with an open 3-pointer much to the delight of the fans.
The U.S. extended the lead to six, but France wouldn’t capitulate, taking a brief 31-30 advantage late in the first half. The Americans led 32-31 at the break.
The Americans will face Canada on Friday in Bridgeport, Connecticut. France will play Australia in the second game of this exhibition series. All four teams will conclude play at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday.
From there the U.S. will head to Houston to meet up with the men’s basketball Olympic team before both head to Rio together. The women open Olympic play on Sunday, Aug. 7 against Senegal. The U.S. has won 41 consecutive Olympic contest and five straight gold medals.