Team USA’s women’s basketball team enters the 2012 London Olympic Games as the heavy favorites to win the Gold Medal. The U.S. has won Gold the previous four Olympics and has not lost a game in the Olympics since 1992.
Team USA, led by head coach Geno Auriemma, returns 10 of their 12 players that went undefeated in the 2010 World Championships. The U.S. defeated the Czech Republic 89-69 in the World Championship Gold Medal game. Auriemma is making his Olympic debut as a head coach though he does have Olympic experience. Auriemma was an assistant with Team USA in 2000 under Nell Fortner.
Team USA went 5-0 during their 2012 pre-Olympic tour. The U.S. defeated China, Brazil, Great Britain, Croatia and Turkey. Team USA’s closest game was a 19-point victory over Turkey on July 22.
The U.S. will play their preliminary against Group A teams which includes the Czech Republic, China, Croatia, Angola and Turkey. Group B is made up of Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Brazil, France and Russia.
The rest of the article will look at Team USA’s roster as well as provide analysts on how well the team will do.
Sue Bird – guard
Bird is the leader on and off the court for Team USA.
Bird, one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all-time, is making her third Olympic appearance. She is fifth on Team USA’s all-time Olympic list with 37 assists.
Lindsay Whalen – guard
Whalen is making her first Olympic appearance. She averaged 5.9 points per game during the 2010 World Championships.
Whalen shot the lights out during Team USA’s 2012 pre-Olympic tour as she knocked down 22-of-her 37 shots. Whalen led the U.S. in scoring (11 ppg) and assists (17) during their pre-Olympic tour.
Diana Taurasi – guard/forward
Taurasi is making her third Olympic appearance. She led Team USA in scoring (12 ppg) during the 2010 World Championships.
Taurasi finished third on the team in scoring (10.4 ppg) and second (15) in assists during the 2012 Pre-Olympic tour. She is one of the WNBA’s top-15 players of all-time.
Semoine Augustus – forward
Augustus, the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP, is making her second Olympic appearance. Augustus finished fourth on Team USA with 10.4 points per game during in the 2012.
Maya Moore – forward
Moore, the 2011 WNBA Rookie of the Year, is making her first Olympic appearance. She averaged 8.7 points and 3.3 during the 2010 World Championships.
Moore, a terrific all around player, finished second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg), second in rebounds (6 ppg) and third in assists (14) during Team USA’s pre-Olympic tour.
Swin Cash – forward
The 32-year old Cash is making her second Olympics appearance. She is one of the best defenders and rebounders on Team USA despite being the second oldest player on the team.
Cash played the second fewest minutes on Team USA during their pre-Olympic tour.
Tamika Catchings – forward
The oldest member of the squad is making her third Olympic appearance. Catchings, one of the WNBA’s top-15 players of all-time, was named the 2011 WNBA regular season MVP.
Catchings, started all five of the pre-Olympic tour games, averaged 8.8 points. She also recorded 17 steals and blocked three shots.
Asja Jones – forward
Jones is making her Olympic debut. She will probably not see a whole lot of action during the Olympics as she only saw 12 minutes of action per game during the pre-Olympic tour. She also only saw 11 minutes of playing time per game during the 2010 World Championships.
Tina Charles – center
The six-foot-four Charles is making her first Olympic appearance. She was second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding during the 2010 World Championships.
Charles averaged 7.6 points and 6 rebounds (tied for team-high) during USA’s pre-Olympic.
Sylvia Fowles – center
The six-foot-four Fowles is the tallest member on Team USA. She is making her second Olympic appearance.
Fowles, the 2011 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, can score around the basket and is an excellent offensive rebounder.
Angel McCoughtry – forward
The six-foot-one McCoughtry is making her first Olympic appearance. She was second on the team in scoring during the 2010 World Championships.
McCougherty, the number one overall pick in the 2009 WNBA draft, leads the WNBA in scoring in 2012 with 22.6 points a game. She is also a two-time All- WNBA Defensive first team selection.
Candace Parker – guard/ forward/ center
The six-foot-four Parker is making her second Olympic appearance. She is the most versatile player on the roster.
Parker led Team USA in rebounds and blocked shots during their five game pre-Olympic tour.
All 12 of players on the U.S.’s roster are currently playing in the WNBA and have experience playing against international competition. Team USA is an athletic team that can score inside and outside. The U.S. should also be one of the best defensive teams in the competition due to their physicality inside and quickness on the perimeter.
On offense, I believe Team USA look to get the ball into post as they have two bulldogs inside in Charles and Fowles. Parker, McCoughtry, Augustus, Catchings and Cash can also score inside as well as from the outside.Bird and Whalen are very good ball-handlers and distributors. Taurasi is a knock down shooter who can score in bunches.
Defensively, Bird and Whalen will be expected to harass opposing ball-handlers all game and should come up with several steals. Jones, Cash, Moore, Parker, Catchings, McCougherty along with Charles and Fowles will make it difficult for opposing teams to score from the perimeter as well as in the paint.
While Team USA doesn’t have the tallest or most versatile team, I believe should have no problem claiming their seventh Olympic Gold Medal. The U.S. has won 33 straight Olympic Games and are 50-3 record overall in Olympic Competition.
Daniel Benjamin has coached basketball for four years.