By DOUG FEINBERG LONDON (AP) -- Tina Charles and Candace Parker each had double-doubles and Angel McCoughtry provided a spark off the bench to help the U.S. women's team overcome a sloppy performance Saturday to beat Croatia 81-56 in their Olympic opener. Coach Geno Auriemma had said he was hoping that the Americans could play a style of basketball that would be entertaining and help grow the women's game internationally. That didn't happen Saturday. The U.S. struggled for the first three quarters before pulling away to win their 34th consecutive Olympic contest. The victory was far different than the 54-point pounding the Americans gave Croatia a week earlier. Despite missing its first 14 shots, Croatia hung tough for the first 30 minutes before the Americans finally could pull away. The U.S., which has dominated its opponents en route to the last four gold medals, only led 53-49 early in the fourth quarter before a 16-0 run put the game out of reach. McCoughtry started the burst with consecutive layups and Tamika Catchings capped it with a three-point play that made it 69-49. Swin Cash, who hadn't played in the first few quarters also had a three-point play in the spurt. McCoughtry finished with 13 points. Charles had 14 points and 10 rebounds; Parker finished with 11 points and 13 boards. Jelena Ivezic scored 22 points and Marija Vrsaljko added 19 for Croatia, which was making its Olympic debut. Vrsaljko missed the previous contest last Saturday as she was getting married. While the Americans had their way on offense in that contest, they struggled Saturday. The U.S. built a 9-0 lead early on as Croatia missed its first 14 shots. The Americans could have been up a lot more, but missed a lot of easy shots and turned the ball over. The U.S. finished with 21 turnovers. Vrsaljko finally got the Croatians on the board with a lay-in with 2 minutes left in the first quarter. The U.S. built its lead to 21-9 and looked poised to take command early before going cold from the floor. Croatia scored the next 14 points, capped by Luca Ivankovic's lay-in that gave the team it's first lead of the game, 23-21. Ivezic's 3 minutes later made it 26-23. Diana Taurasi had seen enough, hitting consecutive 3s to restore the Americans' advantage. The U.S. led 31-28 at the half. It was the second straight Olympics that the Americans struggled in their opener. They trailed the Czech Republic 13-2 before winning by 40 at the Beijing Games. The U.S. men's basketball team, who are also heavy favorites to win the gold, didn't make the women's opener. They had practice at the same time. The two teams marched together in the opening ceremonies and are staying in the same hotel Next up for the U.S. is Angola, which lost to Turkey 72-50 in its first Olympic debut. The Americans will also face China, Turkey and the Czech Republic in pool play. The U.S. beat the Czechs in the finals of the 2010 world championship to qualify for the London Games. The Czech Republic lost its pool opener, falling to China 66-57. In other early games Saturday, Russia rallied past Canada 58-53. Brazil played France and Australia met Britain later Saturday night.
The first big move of NBA Draft night - according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski - was to help Atlanta land Virginia's De'Andre Hunter.
Per Wojnarowski Atlanta has acquired the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans, which they got from the Lakers in the mega-deal for Anthony Davis, for the picks No. 8, 17, and 35. With that fourth overall selection, the Hawks plan to take Hunter.
Hunter, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a member of UVA's national championship team this past season, was profiled in NBC Sports Washington's I Am The Prospect series.
In his interview with NBC Sports Washington, Hunter described what he expects draft night to be like for him and his family.
"Draft night's gonna be really emotional. I don't know if I'm gonna cry or not, but I know a few members of my family will be crying, so that'll probably get to me a little bit," Hunter said. "It's gonna be a great moment for not only me but for my family as well."
In another pre-draft trade, the Suns have acquired the No. 11 pick and forward Dario Saric from the Timberwolves for the No. 6 pick, per Wojnarowski.
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It's NBA Draft night! That means prospects are about to begin the most exciting time of their professional lives. It also means they're going to show up in wild, sometimes fly, sometimes ill-advised outfits on the red carpet.
Here's a quick roundup of what everybody's rocking this year.
Bol Bol, Oregon
Is this one of the boldest draft looks ever? Hard to top rhinestone spider webs.
Up Close: Bol Bol’s Spider Web suit for tonight’s NBA Draft. pic.twitter.com/jf6oKkMf14— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 20, 2019
RJ Barrett, Duke
Bright pink suit, custom Canadian flag lining and spiked loafers. A whole lot of look for Barrett.
Zion Williamson, Duke
Williamson went with a cream tuxedo without a tie.
Cam Reddish, Duke
Reddish opted for a gold-on-black print jacket and black shirt and pants, finished off with a simple gold chain and Versace loafers.
Former @DukeMBB star @camreddish was on the show earlier this week. He’s wearing a custom JF J. Ferrar suit from JCPenny, with a personalized liner featuring “Mama Jones” to honor a Duke teammate’s mother who is battling breast cancer. #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/AthlZAhrMA— Alex Gold🎙 (@AlexGold) June 20, 2019
Ja Morant, Murray State
Not only is Morant rocking a blue-purple pinstripe suit, but also he's wearing a pocket square of his own face! This is not a drill.
Pocket square choice for Ja Morant: Himself! pic.twitter.com/UhktVYj937— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 20, 2019
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
Hachimura payed homage to his roots with his draft-night 'fit. In a burgundy and blue suit and shirt, he showed off fabrics from Japan and Benin in the lining of his jacket.
Rui Hachimura will be the first Japanese player ever drafted tonight. His mother is Japanese, his father is from the West African nation of Benin. The inside of his suit is a tribute to both cultures. pic.twitter.com/ekSkXaJksf— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 20, 2019
This post will continue updating throughout the night
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