The WNBA All-Stars didn't need Australian ace Liz Cambage as they toppled Tokyo-bound Team USA 93-85 in a highly-anticipated women's basketball clash.
Team USA will be chasing a seventh Olympic consecutive gold medal at the Tokyo Games but they got a wake up call from their WNBA peers in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.
Cambage was on the All-Stars roster and fans were looking forward to the Australian centre's clash with big Las Vegas Aces teammate A'ja Wilson. However she did not take the court despite being in uniform.
That clash may now come when Australia play Team USA in an Olympic warm-up match in Las Vegas on Friday (Sat AEST).
Arike Ogunbowale put on a show and was named the game's MVP after scoring 26 points for the All-Stars.
Ogunbowale downplayed the idea she was trying to make a statement for not making the Olympic team headed to Tokyo next week.
"I think that shows that out of 144 players everybody's good," she said. "We wanted to get Team USA ready for Tokyo. They are representing all of us."
Connecticut Sun centre Jonquel Jones, who noted ahead of the game she wanted those bragging rights of beating the national team, finished with a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds. She also had four assists and three steals.
Brittney Griner scored 17 points and Breanna Stewart had 15 to lead the Olympic team, which had been 3-0 in previous games against WNBA-select squads.
Veteran Diana Taurasi didn't play for Team USA and is recovering from a hip injury.
It wasn't a typical All-Star Game, with the teams playing hard on both ends of the court for the entire game from the start.
"It was really competitive," said Sue Bird. "Definitely not a typical All-Star game. Usually talk to players about trying to put on a good show and having a good time and hopefully the fans enjoy it. This, right from the tip, felt different. It had an intensity about it you could tell."
The Olympic team is a heavy favourite to win a seventh straight gold medal at the Tokyo Games ahead of rivals, including Australia.
No team they'll meet has as much talent as the WNBA All-Star team they faced.
Still, like the US men's Olympic team which lost consecutive exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia, an American loss is rare.
Australian Associated Press