LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JULY 25, 2016 – The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s National Team exhibition tour in preparation for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio officially tipped off with a matchup against the US Select Team on Monday night at the Galen Center on the campus of USC.
The Liberty of course were well represented in the action, with Tina Charles helping lead the national team to a down-to-the-wire 88-84 win over her New York teammates, Kiah Stokes and Sugar Rodgers, of the Select Team.
Charles finished with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting, hauling in four rebounds with an assist, part of a very balanced efforts from the US National Team.
She was involved in the scoring early on, taking a feed from Diana Taurasi to get to the rim just 1:45 into the action, and found her second bucket of the opening quarter on a pull-up jumper at 6:50.
The Select squad led throughout the first quarter, and stretched the advantage to 22-17 just before the horn as Rodgers stroked a three from the right side for her only basket of the game.
Coming out of the half, with the national team having regained a 43-40 lead just before the intermission, Charles wasted no time in making her impact felt once again, scoring on the very first possession. At 7:34 it was Charles took advantage of a second-chance opportunity, this time streaking to the rim to take a pass from Syliva Fowles for a finger roll at the rim to stretch the National Team’s lead to 49-42.
Stokes also got in on the action, finishing one of the flashier plays of the night. With the Select Team whipping the ball around the perimeter, eventually Stefanie Dolson held at the top of the key and found Stokes on a back-door cut for an uncontested layup, meaning all three Liberty plays finished with at least one field goal in the exhibition.
“I thought it was very competitive and the Select team did a great job on challenging us,” said Charles after the game. “It was something I definitely didn’t expect. They are a hungry group. Very young, very talented. It was a fun game for the fans. I’m glad we won.”
Up next for the USA National Team is the first of three international exhibitions, culminating Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The United States will face France at the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware on Wednesday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m.
“I feel confident. We have great leaders on this team. Great vets who I think will lead us to victory down in Rio,” said Charles. “I feel very blessed to be among this group and I am just going to soak everything in.”