The Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry scored a game-high 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including a perfect 9-of-9 clip from the charity stripe, to pace Team USA to a 79-66 victory over the Italian National Team in the second game of its current European Tour on Wednesday in Rome.
McCoughtry has scored in double-digits in each of Team USA’s opening two contests against European competition as she previously notched 17 points vs. Uni Girona in the opening game of the overseas tour on Sunday in Spain.
“I think it was a good game for us,” said McCoughtry. “We needed a good game like this, a good test to see where we’re at. They tied the game up at halftime because of our lack of defense, but we picked it up in the second half.”
McCoughtry led a total of five USA players who finished the game in double-figure scoring totals.
The Americans shot 50.8 percent (30-59 FGs) from the field, while holding Italy to 31.1 percent (23-74 FGs) shooting. The U.S. outscored Italy 36-12 in the paint and 8-2 on the fast break.
Italy pulled to within two points five times in the third quarter. With the red, white and blue up 54-52 in the third quarter’s waning minutes, Candice Dupree and Elena Delle Donne hit the quarter’s final two buckets to bring the period to a 58-52 end.
The USA’s run expanded to 10-0 over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter as a Breanna Stewart bucket put the U.S. up 64-52. Two more 3-pointers from Italy helped the hosts pull to seven points at 69-62 with 5:10 to play, but Dupree and Brittney Griner combined for 10-straight points to give the USA its largest lead of the night and put the game out of reach, 79-62.
“We haven’t been together for very long,” said McCoughtry. “But, it’s good to see that we were able to work together to pull it out.”
The USA squad will take on the Dike Naples professional team on Oct. 8 in Naples, Italy. The tour concludes with a game against 2015 EuroLeague champion USK Prague on Oct. 9 in Prague, Czech Republic.
The USA squad is using this tour as preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games, which will be held Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.