USA Women's Basketball vs Czech Republic: Stars Most Important to US Victory

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01:  Candace Parker #15 of United States looks on ahead of the Women's Basketball Preliminary Round match between the United States and Turkey on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on August 1, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When the Team USA women's basketball takes the court in London on Friday, they will be attempting to move to 4-0 in group play by taking down the Czech Republic. 

The Czechs are the best competition that the women will have faced thus far, as they are ranked No. 4 in the FIBA world rankings. After beating Croatia, Angola and Turkey—the No. 31, No. 27 and No. 21 teams, respectively—the competition will be taking another step up. 

That means that the stars are going to have to step up for Team USA as well. 

These are the three players who will be most important to an American victory. 


Sue Bird

The best female point guard in the world, Sue Bird will have to distribute the ball effectively to her star teammates, while maintaining a scoring presence for Team USA. 

Bird has only averaged 5.7 points per game through the first three games of the competition, but she's leading the team in assists with 4.7 per game. 

She will also have her hands full on defense, when she tries to slow down point guard Katerina Bartonova, a great passer in her own right. 

An efficient performance in which she tries to cut down her turnover numbers will be key for the American squad. 

Angel McCoughtry

The Atlanta Dream's star player has been a scoring sensation off the bench for the USA. 

She was particularly effective against Turkey, when she helped the Americans pull ahead of their competitors by scoring 18 points in just 16 minutes of action. Her ability to get to the rim in transition is nearly unmatched in the women's basketball world and her handles match her athleticism. 

Against the Czech Republic, the leading scorer for Team USA will need to improve upon her 13.7 points per game and lead the second unit to a dominant showing.

McCoughtry will also need to step up her defensive game when she's on the court. Guard play is a strength for the Czech team between Bartonova, Katarina Elhotova and Hana Horakova.  

Candace Parker

Forward Eva Viteckova is the leading scorer for the Czech Republic with 14.3 points per game through the first three games of group play, and Candace Parker is going to be one of the players responsible for slowing her down.

Parker has been a force to be reckoned with, as expected, for Team USA. Thus far, she's averaged 9.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 3.0 blocks per game.

The former WNBA MVP must continue to be sensational in all aspects of the game if the Americans are not only going to maintain their undefeated record, but also preserve their margin of victory.