Olympic Basketball 2012: 5 Reasons US Women Will Be as Dominant as the Men
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Will all the roster shuffling on the superstar-studded USA men's basketball team, it's very easy to overlook women's basketball heading into the 2012 London Olympics.
For the American women, however, there is a 33-game Olympic winning streak on the line and a gold medal to defend. Their stacked roster will produce a team as equally dominant as the men's squad.
Here are five reasons why...
5. Geno Auriemma
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You can't argue with seven NCAA titles and six Naismith College Coach of the Year awards.
Despite the pending employment discrimination lawsuit accusing Auriemma of making sexual advances on a Team USA security officer, the team claims it is not distracted.
"Knowing coach Auriemma, he knows how to prioritize things," said center Tina Charles. "Like when you're on the court, your focus should be on the court. Outside things, you go on and handle your business."
Auriemma is a Hall of Famer with six of his former Connecticut players under his direction on the national team. He'll be ready to lead them with a killer instinct to avoid an upset.
4. Sylvia Fowles
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The U.S. roster is loaded with the WNBA's best players and their impressive stat lines, but no one has been more impressive than Sylvia Fowles.
The 6'6" Chicago Sky center, who led the team in scoring in Beijing, leads the league with a plus-26.93 efficiency rating. In 34 minutes per game over 15 games so far, she is averaging 19.3 points and 13 boards. Her 200-pound frame commands respect in the paint, where she should dominate in her second-straight Olympics.
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This year's team is made up of players who have Olympic hardware already.
Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi have two gold medals each, while Swin Cash, Sylvia Fowles, Candace Parker and Seimone Augustus each have one. The five newbies were all on the 2010 World Championships squad.
“We have an opportunity to have one of the greatest Olympic teams all-time with the combination of players with the depth, experience and youth,” said Auriemma.
2. The Competition
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While the international men's rosters feature some of the NBA's best players (Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, etc.) the top flight of women's players in the WNBA (like its counterpart, also the world's top league) is dominated by American players.
The U.S. Olympic team features the top four WNBA scorers from the 2011 season, and the international players don't show up much in any of the WNBA's top 20 for the major categories—not so with the men's field.
1. The Intimidation Factor
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All things come to an end, but the U.S. women have won five consecutive Olympic gold medals during the 33-game winning streak. Their roster looks very much like the Beijing blowout squad, which won by a downright scary average of 38 points.
The confidence and swagger are red-lining for the United States right now, and the opposition will be able to feel it as they warm up on the other half of the court.