London 2012: 5 Reasons USA Is a Lock to Win Olympic Gold in Women's Basketball
As the London 2012 Olympics approach, the USA women’s national team will once again look to dominate as it has for the past decades in Olympic play. Recently, it has won four consecutive golds.
Although rival Australia may have its best team it has ever assembled and Russia brings one of its most confident teams yet, here are five reasons why the USA is a lock to win Olympic gold in women’s basketball.
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is arguably the best player in women’s basketball. She can finish at the rim, shoot from anywhere, find her teammates, and plays harder than anybody on both ends of the floor.
The eight-time WNBA All-First Team selection doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Taurasi’s abilities on the offensive end are unlimited.
Similar to how Kobe Bryant is able to perform rather relaxed throughout games and then close them out when seldom needed, this is going to be the case for Taurasi.
No different as it is in the WNBA, no individual and no team is going to able to completely stop her.
Now if a team happens to slow her down, they’ll still have 11 more WNBA All-Stars to slow down as well.
The 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player was quite deserving of the award, and the traits that go into winning that honor are going to play a huge part in the USA’s success this year.
Although she’s a gifted offensive player, her defense and leadership are what is most valuable for the team.
A four-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Catchings wreaks havoc on the defensive end. Don’t be surprised if the oldest player on the team is guarding WNBA All-Star Penny Taylor of Australia if they meet in the championship. She’s a born leader and her teammates will definitely feed off her hard work and defensive efforts night after night.
The USA women’s team’s frontline is the best in international basketball.
This facet of its game becomes rather important as its two biggest competitors, Australia and Russia, sport three and four players over 6'5", respectively.
Although the USA will face two 6'8" players from both of these teams, there is no question that its frontline is either more talented and more experienced.
Tina Charles at 6’4”, Candace Parker at 6’4”, and Sylvia Fowles at 6’6” are more than enough to handle any other teams’ bigs. They may be shorter, but all three own the paint with their rebounding and ability to block and alter shots.
They Have the Best Players in the World
To be blatantly honest, USA is basketball country, whether it be men’s or women’s. Americans dominate the sport of basketball.
The dominance may even be more prevalent in women’s basketball, as most WNBA players play in the EuroLeague during the offseason.
A prime example of this team having the best players in the world is when four of the top five scorers in the EuroLeague—Taurasi, Charles, Asjha Jones and Angel McCoughtry—play on the US national team.
All 12 members of the team have played international basketball, and it’s hard to lose when you probably have 12 of the top 15 women’s players in the world.
Great Mix of Youth and Experience
Unlike the underachieving and early 2000s US men’s national teams, the US women’s national team has a perfect mix of young and experienced players.
A great national team usually needs a pretty balanced attack on both ends with all players collectively embracing their different roles.
Seeing as if the US women’s team has known the perfect formula for decades now, this team is not that different from past teams. Ten of the 12 players on this roster were on the most recent 2010 World Championships gold medal-winning team. This team is probably better considering it has added on 2008 WNBA MVP Candace Parker and 2011 WNBA Finals MVP Seimone Augustus.
The women’s national team hasn’t lost in international play since the FIBA World Championships in September 2006.
And it's not losing anytime soon.