USA Olympic Women's Basketball Team 2012: How Team Ranks Against Best All Time

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03:  Diana Taurasi #12 and Lindsay Whalen #4 of United States celebrate after defeating Czech Republic in the Women's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena  on August 3, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Team USA trailed the Czech Republic 26-24 after the first quarter in the teams' fourth game of preliminary-round play.

It won the next two quarters by a combined 46-21 margin, going on to win by 27 points. 

Of course, it's commitment like that that's helped the United States' women's basketball team win 37 straight games in the Summer Olympics. Of course, that streak dates back to 1992, so this isn't the first time the U.S. has fielded a phenomenal roster.

Nor is it the first dominant squad we've seen since women's basketball came to the Olympics in 1976.

Compared to other greats, where exactly does this team rank?

It's still too soon, to be sure. At the moment, it's hard to give this team a significant edge over the 1996 iteration that took Atlanta by storm. Led by Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie, Team USA went undefeated with one blowout after another.

They weren't the only team winning big that year, though.

Brazil won its quarterfinal and semifinal meetings by a combined 53 points and looked good enough to give the United States a run for its money. However, Team USA won the gold medal game by a decisive 111-87 final score.

The 2008 edition of Team USA wasn't bad either.

In fact, it included younger versions of several players representing this year's team, including Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings and, of course, Diana Taurasi. Again going an undefeated 8-0, Team USA beat the Australian team in the gold-medal game after also besting them for gold in 2000 and 2004.

Australia had beaten its opposition by a combined 77 points in its previous two elimination games, and it was rearing to end its streak of losses to the Americans.

Instead, the United States prevailed by 27 points.

So much for determination.

Outside of 1996 and 2008 USA teams, it's hard to make a case for any other rosters. The Australians have consistently produced excellent teams, and they've consistently lost to the United States. The Soviet Union won the gold medal in 1980 in dominant fashion, but the U.S. was boycotting the competition that year on account of the fact it was held in Moscow amid Cold War tensions.

And, while the 1984 and 1988 U.S. teams also won gold medals in dominant fashion, the simple truth is that their competition wasn't what today's teams face. With the game's exploding global popularity, Team USA faces tougher challenges today than it ever has.

It continues to prevail, though.

If this year's squad goes on to do what it looks like they're about to do, they'll certainly rank among the two or three best Olympic teams of all time. 

At least until 2016's team has a crack at it.