The U.S. women's national team had an unexpectedly long journey to get to Bahía Blanca, Argentina, for the FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament. But it didn't stop the Americans from opening the event with a 76-61 victory over Brazil on Thursday.
All told, their trip, which began in Houston, ended up taking more than 48 hours. The biggest problem was their flight from Buenos Aires to Bahia Blanca was delayed twice before it was finally canceled. Then, the team had to take an eight-hour bus ride to the tournament site.
The Americans got off to a bit of a slow start and trailed 15-10 after the first quarter. But the United States outscored Brazil 23-16 in the second quarter to take control.
Center Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx and guard Chelsea Gray of the Los Angeles Sparks each scored 21 points for the Americans and combined to shoot 18-of-23 from the field. Gray also had eight assists and five steals. Her Sparks teammate Nneka Ogwumike had 11 points for the Americans.
Lynx forward Damiris Dantas had 11 points for Brazil, and former WNBA player Erika de Souza had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The U.S. squad next faces host Argentina on Saturday (7 p.m. ET), then Colombia on Sunday (4:30 p.m. ET).