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Sylvia spoils the UConn ‘reunion’
Fowles scored 13 of her 23 points in the third quarter and the U.S.
national team beat the WNBA All-Stars 99-72 on Saturday in this year’s version of the league’s mid-season showcase.
Fowles shot 9 for 11 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds, earning the MVP award in a game that had six former or current Huskies players on a U.S.
team led by Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma and played about 30 miles south of the school’s campus.
“They’re on this team for a reason,” said Fowles, a former LSU standout.
“They’re great players. … They play well together. They have that chemistry.
They know what they want and they know how to win. Just to be a part of that crew, it makes you feel good.”
Candice Dupree and SwinCash had 13 points apiece, UConn senior Maya Moore added 12 and Angel McCoughtry had 11 for the U.S.
Katie Douglas had 15 points, Penny Taylor scored 12 and Sophia Young added 10 for the All-Stars.
Fowles was dominant over the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second half, shooting 5 for 6 from the field, 3 for 4 from the free-throw line and grabbing five rebounds. The Chicago Sky center converted a layup with 3:38 to go in the third to make it 68-37, the U.S.’s biggest of the game.
“Syl did a great job,” U.S. and Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird said. “She’s such a dominant player, you saw it. She can get every rebound if she wants. She can score 20 points a night if she wants.”
“It’s a matter if she wants to that night. That’s what we’re trying to do, that’s what coach Auriemma is trying to do, trying to get her to be like that every game.”
The All-Stars tried to make a run in the fourth quarter. Young scored six points, Taylor had five and Lindsay Whalen four as the WNBA used a 17-6 run to pull to 81-61 with 6:12 remaining. But that was as close as it got down the stretch.
“Obviously the game was well over at that point,” Douglas said. “We just tried to put a little bit of energy and fun into the game.”
Moore, the first college player to appear in such a game, scored six points in the final 4 1/2 minutes as the U.S. pulled away again. She finished 6 for 13 from the field — taking the most shots on her team — and also had eight rebounds in 22 minutes.
She also drew some of the loudest cheers from the crowd.
“I think this is a good little preview for her,” Bird said. “Pretty soon she’s going to be in the WNBA. If anything, it gives you an idea to see what it’s like, being on the court, kind of getting used to it.”
The U.S. shot 56 percent from the field (42 for 75), outrebounded the All-Stars 39-30 and had 32 assists. The WNBA shot 37 percent (26 for 70) and finished with 11 assists.
“The fact we had 32 assists … is just an incredible number,” Auriemma said. “To be able to spread the ball around like that, share, make the extra pass, all the things you would want to see a team do.”
Young made two free throws, Michelle Snow had a layup and Monique Currie made one free throw to help the All-Stars close to 33-26 with 6:18 left in the second quarter.
The U.S. then closed out the half with a 16-2 run. McCoughtry hit a 3-pointer to cap an eight-point surge that gave the U.S. a 41-26 lead with 3:27 remaining.
“Obviously (we) played against the best team in the world today,” All-Stars coach Brian Agler said. “The game got away from us there a couple of times. … We did our mission of getting out of here with no injuries, get these players back to their teams.”
The game was part of a four-day training camp for the U.S., which is preparing for the world championships in the Czech Republic in September. A potential Game 5 in the WNBA finals would take place Sept. 21, two days before the opener of the worlds.
It was the second time for this format. The first was in 2004 at the start of the league’s month-long Olympic break. The U.S. won that game, 74-58, at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
The U.S. concludes the camp with an exhibition against Taylor and the Australian national team on Sunday.