London Olympics 2012: Ranking Top 10 Women's Basketball Players on US Roster
The US Women’s National Team has flexed their dominance among the rest of the world for a while now. The fact that the United States leads the rest of the world in basketball talent goes unquestioned.
Besides Lauren Jackson of Team Australia and the Seattle Storm and Becky Hammon of Team Russia and the San Antonio Silver Stars, the top 10 players on this year’s US roster are arguably the top 10 players on the planet.
10. Lindsay Whalen
Starting off the list is the three-time WNBA all-star and champion, who will be playing the distributing role alongside Sue Bird.
Bird and Whalen are vital because they are some of the best passers in the game and can really complement all the weapons the US team has.
It will also be beautiful to potentially watch three Lynx players run the show, as they are the main parts of the US team’s second unit.
9. Sue Bird
A mentor, and probably the main distributor for the US team, the seven-time WNBA all-star may be near the downslope of her career. Still, she’s an integral part of the team winning gold.
Currently fourth in assists per game at 5.3, Bird's still setting up her teammates as effectively as ever, which is really good considering she’s second all-time in career assists.
Fatigue has been creeping; she’s been shooting a career-low 29 percent from three, but the US could easily win gold even if she took one shot all tournament (i.e. Jason Kidd in the 2008 Beijing Olympics).
8. Maya Moore
As the season progresses, "the Moore” Maya Moore looks not like the Minnesota Lynx sidekick, but an equal to Augustus.
The reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year is really starting to show how good she is going to be for women’s basketball. On June 9, Augustus missed the game and Moore led the Lynx to their ninth straight win, scoring a season-high 26 points.
Don’t be surprised if this WNBA champion is a lot higher on this list in a few years.
7. Seimone Augustus
This top 10 list is absolutely stacked when the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP is at No. 7.
The gifted scorer has become a seasoned veteran and good defender as well. She can score from anywhere on the floor, and her high release jumpshot makes her an almost impossible guard off the dribble and off screens.
Hopefully Augustus can perform at full health for a second time since her torn ACL and fibroid tumors.
6. Tamika Catchings
Yes, it’s pretty absurd that the 2011 WNBA MVP falls to the sixth spot on this list. “Most valuable” doesn’t exactly mean “top” or “best” player, as justification. But don’t let that take away from how great the seven-time all-star has been as of late, especially being one of the oldest players on the US team.
She showed her greatness in early June, dropping 31 points and grabbing eights rebounds versus the then 4-1 Connecticut Sun.
Catchings is sixth on this list, but she probably tops as the most important key to this US team.
5. Angel McCoughtry
In only her fourth year in the WNBA, McCoughtry has quickly made a huge impact. She has easily become a household name with the numbers she puts up on both ends, and is unbelievably well-rounded and versatile.
Currently, she’s second in points per game, averaging 21.6. She can do it from anywhere. A lot of those come in transition, as she is able to create her own shots on defense, averaging a whopping 3.75 steals per game.
4. Tina Charles
Charles and Fowles are arguably the two best bigs in the game. Many would even put the young 2010 Rookie of the Year over Fowles.
The Connecticut Sun has quickly evolved into an elite player. She shoots a high 54 percent from the field. As of June 11, she is the only center in the WNBA averaging over 20 points per game.
As talented as she is, it’s tough to put a young third-year player in the top three.
3. Sylvia Fowles
The 2011 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year has been even better this season.
It’s tough to put Fowles at No. 3 with the statistics she puts on night after night. Nine games into the season, she is on pace to crush the single-season rebounding record, averaging 14.6 per game. She a force down low offensively as well, hitting on 63 percent of her shots.
Not many have an answer for her, and it may be that way for a while.
2. Diana Taurasi
Although she currently has a strained hip flexor and has not played a WNBA game since May 26, she is set to play in the Olympics.
Being the first time an injury has really hindered her, it would be a shame to exclude Taurasi from the list. She is arguably the best scorer in the WNBA and has been for quite a while now. On offense, she can do it all.
Alongside her tenacious defense, it’s fair to say she could be at the No.1 spot.
1. Candace Parker
When not injured or on maternity leave, arguably the most hyped women’s basketball player to play the game definitely doesn’t disappoint. A healthy Parker is the most versatile and most gifted women’s player to ever play the game.
On the offense end, she can shoot from the outside, finish at the rim and playmake for others. On defense, she blocks shots, alters shots and can guard any player around because of her combination of size and speed.
It’s a no-brainer, Parker tops the list.