UNCASVILLE, Conn. - This was not how the United States wanted to head into the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament next week.
Three days after blowing out Australia in an exhibition game in Trenton, N.J., the United States struggled for most of the rematch, turning the ball over, giving up second chances and losing starting forward Seimone Augustus to injury, before finally beating the Aussies 70-66 on Wednesday night.
"It was a little bit different game," coach Anne Donovan said. "It was a good test for us. I feel good walking away with a win."
The U.S. can ill afford a letdown in the Olympic qualifier.
"It is a must win," Donovan said. "This is all we're focused on. There is no Beijing if we don't win in Chile."
The difference in this game for the United States was Candace Parker, who scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half.
"She's an unbelievable player who can do everything. She's like Lauren Jackson," Australia's Laura Summerton said, comparing Parker to one of the world's top players. "She's so young and she has so much more to go."
With the Americans trailing 49-47 late in the third quarter, Parker took over, scoring 13 of the United States' next 21 points. She hit turnaround jumpers, layups and free throws to help the U.S. build a 68-64 lead with 3:14 left.
n Hingis, Kuznetsova out of China Open: Martina Hingis was upset by local favorite Peng Shuai 7-5, 6-1 at the China Open on Wednesday, while defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova withdrew with a stomach injury.
Kuznetsova dropped out before her second-round match against American Abigail Spears.
"When I got up this morning, my abdomen was getting worse and worse although I received treatment yesterday," said Kuznetsova, the top seed who was given a first-round bye.
Maria Emilia Salerni of Argentina, who replaced Kuznetsova, went on to beat Spears 6-2, 7-5.
Peng defeated Hingis, the Swiss former No. 1 player, 7-5, 6-1.
n American teen upsets top-seeded Bartoli in India: Vania King of the United States upset top-seeded Marion Bartoli of France 6-1, 7-5 Tuesday in the first round of the Sunfeast Open.
King, an 18-year-old Californian ranked No. 90, faced only one break point in defeating her 12th-ranked opponent. Bartoli won only 58 percent of the points on her first serve and 33 percent on her second. King won 70 percent on both her first and second serves.
Also exiting in the first round were fifth-seeded Alla Kudryavtseva and ninth-seeded Yaroslova Shvedova, both from Russia. Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus defeated Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-3, and Tzipora Obziler of Israel ousted Shvedova 7-6 (6), 6-7 (8), 6-1.
n Saints drop soccer match to SPU: The Saint Martin's women's soccer team dropped to 1-7 after a 4-2 lose to first-place Seattle Pacific on Wednesday.
Trisha Halvorson and Ashley Biral scored each of the Saints' goals in the loss.