Saturday, August 11, 2012

Golden Girls!!!

1-seed United States of America (8-0)

Results: United States 86, France 50
Player of the Game: F Candace Parker (21p, 11r, 2a, 1b, 21m)
Def. Player of the Game: G Diana Taurasi (3dr, 29m)
Stat of the Game: A/TO Ratio: USA 22/11, France 12/21

Summary: Owning a comfortable 12-point lead at halftime over previously unbeaten France (7-1), the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team (8-0) blew the game wide open with a 19-0 run in the third quarter that propelled the USA to a 86-50 win and 5th-straight Olympic Gold Medal on Saturday evening at North Greenwich Arena in London, England. In capturing its unprecedented fifth-straight Olympic Gold (dating back to 1996), a feat never before accomplished in any women’s traditional team sport, the USA women have compiled a 41-game Olympic winning streak that began with the 1992 Bronze Medal game. Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) led the way for the US, shooting 10-of-14 from the field on her way to 21 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds, and Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) added 11 points. In the bronze medal game earlier today, Australia (6-2) beat Russia (4-4) 83-74.

All 12 U.S. players scored in a balanced attack that featured 22 assists on 34 made field goals. The gold medal is a third for Bird, Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), who added nine points and six assists, and Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), who finished with four points and five rebounds. While Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Parker also earned gold in 2008, Swin Cash (Chicago Sky) picked up her first gold medal in 2004. Earning Olympic gold for their first time were: Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx). With her Olympic gold, Moore becomes the seventh U.S. woman to have earned NCAA and WNBA titles, a FIBA World Championship gold medal and an Olympic gold medal. The previous six include Bird, Cash, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, Taurasi and Kara Wolters.

“You know, you go into every game thinking that there’s going to be some things that you have to do, and if you do those things you’re going to have a chance you can win it,” said Geno Auriemma, USA and University of Connecticut head coach who was assisted by DePaul University’s Doug Bruno, Jennifer Gillom of the Washington Mystics and Marynell Meadors of the Atlanta Dream. “France was probably playing as well as anytime I’ve ever seen them, since I’ve been the coach anyway. And when you’re going into it the way they’re playing, they got a lot of confidence. And we tried to really disrupt them and get them into the kind of game they weren’t comfortable playing, and I think we did that right from the beginning. When Candace Parker came in the game, the game changed completely. I thought she was the biggest difference in the game tonight. We all just kind of took that and ran with it. We beat a really good team, but we’re a great team.”

“I think our depth is by far the biggest key for us,” Bird said. “We are able to wear teams down. Not very many teams go 12 deep and with that over a two-week tournament, these teams have to play a lot of minutes ... seven, eight players play a lot of minutes, and I think none of us have to. So we are just able to wear teams down and by the end for the most part you can see teams get tired, and that’s where we really capitalize.”

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