USA Olympic Women's Basketball Team: 3 Rising Stars to Watch

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2012

USA Olympic Women's Basketball Team: 3 Rising Stars to Watch

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    The United States are the overwhelming favorites in London. They are expected not only to win gold, but to dominate the competition.

    The team features familiar faces and several returning Olympic team members. Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings and others are coming back for another gold medal.

    Sylvia Fowles led the US in points and rebounds during the 2008 Beijing Games, and she is also back to offer her services.

    But who of those making their Olympic debuts are ready to star in London? Find out by starting the slideshow.

Lindsay Whalen

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    Whalen finally makes her long overdue Olympics debut.

    In 2004, Whalen led the Minnesota Golden Gophers to its first ever Final Four appearance. Her performance that year earned her the honor of being the first ever female to be named Sportsperson of the Year by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    Since that time she has been the star of the Minnesota Lynx.

    Whalen helped the USA to a gold at the 2010 World Championships, and she will be after her first Olympic gold during the London Games. The veteran guard has played 102 minutes in 2012, only four minutes behind Maya Moore, and leads the team in assists and points.

Tina Charles

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    The former UConn star was named 2009 Female of the Year by USA Basketball before she ever competed in a major international tournament. That tells you how important she has become for the squad.

    Charles is one of the, if not the, top rebounders in the game today.

    In 2012 she is averaging six a game for Team USA in just an average of 18.3 minutes on the court.

    Charles is a dominant force in the paint. That will not change in London. When she is in the game the other countries will have a had time grabbing a board and will have to find new ways to get the ball back.

Maya Moore

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    Moore has already had a storied career, from her amazing accomplishments at UConn to helping lead the Minnesota Lynx to its first WNBA Championship. Now, it is time for Olympic gold.

    Moore has played more minutes than anyone else on Team USA so far in 2012. She averages 10.2 points per game, has 15 steals, 14 assists and averages six rebounds through five games. None of which she started.

    Having Moore as a bench player is one of the finest luxuries a coach can have. Go to your bench and pluck off one of the best players in the world.

    Team USA has an advantage at every position over every country. The bench players are better than other country's starters. There is no reason to have even one close game with talent like Moore coming off the bench.

    The 23-year-old's star has been rising since her days at UConn. It will get brighter in London as she collects her first Olympic Gold.

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