Feeds:
Posts

CONN @ ATL 3ET NBATV
CHI @ DAL 4:30ET League Pass
SEA @ MINN 7ET ESPN2
SA @ WASH 7ET ESPN3
LA @ PHX 9ET ESPN2

Yesterday: Washington toyed with Indiana, and then stomped’em. The Indy Star asks: Will the Fever figure it out in time?

Tamika Catchings, she gets it. She’s one of the all-time WNBA greats, far and away the best player to ever don an Indiana Fever uniform. There’s a reason she has four Olympic gold medals.

Stephanie White gets it, too. There’s a reason she’ll soon be coaching one of the country’s elite college basketball programs.

Unfortunately for the Indiana Fever, it takes more than one great player and one great coach to make a great team.

Welcome: Dallas Wings sign point guard Tiffany Bias through rest of season

Love the optimism: Commentary: Bay Area needs own WNBA team

Love the respect: Tennessee to wear helmet stickers honoring Pat Summitt

Flashback: Ralph Wiley: An athlete with the freedom to speak

Young people who major in sociology ask questions about historical matters like the 1968 Olympic Games, or the 1936 Olympic Games, or the 1972 Olympic Games, or the Trail of Tears, or any of a thousand atrocities, and the many wars that continue to occur. Young people who major in sociology are given pause once they learn and process the bloody history of this or any other “civilized” country.

We live, love, learn. Even if we are athletes. Imagine that. To say athletes and sports are precluded from this process is, in fact, insulting, that a Tommie or a Toni Smith are like cattle and should just give their milk and moo and shut up and not have their own feelings. We should be proud of them. What they are doing is actually an act of love.

But we’re not proud of them.

Flashforward: Ethiopian Olympian Who Made Daring Protest Has Not Returned Home

Feyisa Lilesa, the marathon runner who made an anti-government protest gestureduring the Olympic Games, has not returned to Ethiopia. Reporters aboard the Ethiopian team’s return flight from Rio yesterday (Aug 24) said Lilesa was not on the plane.

Sports officials did not mention the 26-year-old’s name during a welcome ceremony where government officials greeted the team and decorated them with garlands. Ethiopian state media also omitted mention of him in news reports of the athletes’ return. Lilesa’s agent, Federico Rosa, said the athlete had stayed on in Rio but that he does not know Lilesa’s plans.

So, THAT’s not how the Sparks and Lynx wanted to get out of the post-Olympics gate….

LA went up to Seattle and got squeezed by the Storm, 79-72. Stewie struggled, but Bird picked up the slack, hitting 5-7 from behind the arc.

“It’s surprising because we didn’t have the best offensive night. It was all about defense for us,” said guard Jewell Loyd, who finished with 15 points, seven assists and five steals with just one turnover.

Nneka continued her hot play, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think we sat around for six weeks and everybody told us how good we were and I think we softened up,” said Sparks Head Coach Brian Agler.

Maybe Excelle should play the lotto (Connecticut Sun: a team on the rise, playoffs in sight) ’cause the Lynx got stymied by the Sun (and Moore’s foul trouble)  in Connecticut, 84-80.

“We have to grind,” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “We don’t out talent anyone. There’s a reason that four of those players (on the Lynx) are on the Olympic team. We aren’t going to out-talent anyone in this league, but we have to out work and out tough.”

No one on the Lynx is pointing to the Olympics as an excuse:

“In the end, it’s probably a wash,” said Reeve, when asked before the Lynx’s 84-80 loss to the Sun if fatigue or lack of sharpness would prevail. “Any advantage they may have from being off, full-rested, maybe honing some skills, the group that was over in Rio is in game shape and has that rhythm of playing a game. That’s something you can’t simulate when you’re off.

In San Antonio, the Liberty kept their focus and dispatched the Stars, 84-77, thanks to the sweetness that is (MIP) Sugar. Hello, playoffs!

Elena Delle Donne brought the 34-point boom to Chicago as the Sky took down Atlanta, 90-82.

“We took care of the basketball, and I think the key was we married that to good offensive execution and attacked and got to the free throw line,” said Sky coach Pokey Chatman. “I think that comfort allowed us to weather the storm when we were down by seven and then up by eight. 

“It was nice to see that, and we’ll need it as we head on to Dallas.”

Speaking of Dallas, the eternal Pierson’s 23 (and 4000th) couldn’t help the Wings against Penny “sore throat” Taylor and the rest of the Merc.

Phoenix Mercury players won a combined four medals at the Rio Olympics, and more importantly, may have found the defense and chemistry that was missing before the Olympic break.

Despite falling behind by 11 early against Dallas on Friday night, the Mercury hammered the Wings 98-72 before 11,396 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Phoenix’s most one-sided win of the season came against a team it went 0-3 against pre-Rio, including a triple overtime loss June 18 after leading 75-59 going into the fourth quarter.

Washington Post: Mystics and WNBA are back from Olympic break, but LaToya Sanders got no rest

Aussie, Aussie, ello! Mystics Sign Leilani Mitchell as Bria Hartley starts planning for a munchkin.

Slam Online: WATCH: WNBA Super20

The historic 20th WNBA season has been one for the record books. The Lynx and Sparks got off to a blazing hot start, the W has faced controversy for trying to police its players and the basketball has never been better.

With all the talent and storylines around the League, the final part of the regular season and the playoffs provide a guaranteed storybook ending.

Get hype for the rest of the 2016 campaign, picking up again tonight, with the video above, featuring highlights from the first part of the summer.

Also: Nike & WNBA Star Elena Delle Donne Donate Sneakers To Delaware Newborns

Meanwhile:

Doug Bruno savors experience with USA women’s basketball team

Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey donates to Louisiana hometown in wake of flooding

Vermont women’s basketball cancels game at UNC over transgender bathroom law

“The decision to cancel to our Dec. 28 women’s basketball game at North Carolina was made as a result of concerns over the HB2 law, which prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms based on their gender identity,” University of Vermont athletic director Jeff Schulman said Wednesday. “We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected, and valued. It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university.”

WATN? Rodrigo is new grad assistant for Georgia basketball

WATN? Mo’ne Davis shifts her drive to the basketball court: The Little League World Series pioneer two years later

Davis, 15, is heading into her sophomore year of high school at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. She dreams of a career in the WNBA, and she knows the journey begins with the process of college recruitment. That’s why Davis has made the decision to forgo high school basketball this season – after representing her school as an eighth-grader and a freshman – and exclusively play AAU with the Philly Triple Threat team, where she can go head to head with the best talent in the nation.

“I made the decision because it was time to start getting out there in front of college coaches and showing my improvement over the next two years,” Davis said.

Is this still you, Doug? WNBA President Wants Teams to Have Community Conversations

Lisa Borders and WNBA players are ready to move forward.

With the league resuming play this weekend after a month-long Olympic break, Borders outlined to The Associated Press a plan to have teams and players hold conversations in the community similar to what Carmelo Anthony and the U.S. Olympic basketball teams did in Los Angeles last month. The WNBA president said that was a solid blueprint for what can be done in each WNBA city.

.com: How I Spent My Olympic Break – WNBA Style

The WNBA Olympic break wasn’t necessarily time off for players, as the work never truly stops. Most athletes spent their time working out and training in preparation of the final stretch of the season.

Besides the on-court activities and time spent in the gym, players also bonded with each other through team dinners, community service, charity events, and group outings.

Here are the best social media posts displaying everything from basketball clinics to practices, USA Olympic viewing parties to beach selfies, and everything in between.

Vice: How US Women’s Basketball Defined Gold Standard in Dominant Run Through Rio

With teams this great and representative, it is tempting to let the significances of the accomplishment overtake the thing itself. Team USA’s roll through Rio was so expected that, watching it, you could catch yourself missing the actual play, contextualizing in real time. But while this squad was as dominant as any in recent memory, it was also a pure blast. For two weeks, the U.S. women played the rarest kind of basketball: steady, soulful, virtuosic, fiery, total.

Definitely Doug: Olympics done, WNBA ready for sprint to the finish

There should be quite the sprint to the finish during the league’s final weeks, starting Friday through Sept. 18.

“Very excited to get the back end of the season going,” WNBA President Lisa Borders said. “You think about the format changes, top eight teams make the playoffs, doesn’t matter what your geography is, it matters what your record is.”

Only 4 1-2 games separate fourth place and 11th after the league changed its playoff format this season to get rid of conferences. The top eight teams will make the playoffs.

Mechelle: How will the second part of the WNBA season play out?

You wonder if the WNBA participants in the Summer Olympics feel like they’ve just starred in a multi-episode run of the old “Super Friends” cartoon — especially the romp-to-the-gold U.S. team members — and now are headed to an episodic run of “Survivor.”

Blue Star: After Rio Olympics, WNBA looks to seize basketball spotlight

Forbes: Will The WNBA Strike Gold After The Rio Olympics?

WATCH: WNBA announces the “Super20” ad campaign

As Fred Williams approaches 100 career wins, Wings coach’s legacy is that of superstars influenced

Sometimes the quiet Williams allows his team to scrimmage without pause. But on this particular day even a made basket does not guarantee his team, in the middle of a six-game losing streak, will be above reproach. He reminds his players that it’s not a good shot if a couple dribbles here or a pass there can create a better one.

“You have to call them out on it,” Williams says afterwards with a knowing smile on his face. “If you just let them keep doing it then they’re just going to keep doing it. Bad habits.”

CNBC: Olympic gold medalist and WNBA MVP: How burnout actually helped my career

Slam Online: Professional and Successful: Bill Laimbeer has found success both in the NBA as a player and WNBA as a head coach.

SLAM: As the Liberty currently have 18 wins, what is this team’s focus for the remainder of the season?

BL: Execution, since we work on it every day and try to focus on it. We need to grind out as many wins as possible. We know there’s a couple of magic numbers, that we need to hit in order to secure certain seeding, so that’s our goal.

Syracuse.com: Breanna Stewart, her jersey No. 1 in WNBA sales, transitions from Rio to Seattle

On what she learned from the Olympic experience about basketball and winning:

“I think I learned a lot. Being able to be on that team with (Diana Taurasi) and Sue (Bird), who have obviously been there awhile, but also on a team with 11 other great players. They continued to put the emphasis on putting your country before everything else. We weren’t caught up in anything else except winning and representing our country and just knowing how big that was on the Olympic level.”

Jim Fuller, New Haven Register: UConn great Breanna Stewart: “Nothing compares to the Olympics.”

.com: What To Watch For: WNBA Returns With Five Games On Friday Night

After a five week hiatus, the WNBA’s historic 20th season resumes on Friday night, with a big five game slate throwing us right back into the fire. Here’s what to watch for as the WNBA gets back in gear.

Minnesota Lynx at Connecticut Sun – 7 PM EST

Fresh off a gold-medal winning performance down in Rio, the Lynx’s four Olympians will tip off the WNBA’s return to action with their 7 PM EST meeting with the Connecticut Sun.

In the two teams’ only meeting this year, the Sun scored a surprising 93-89 victory in overtime, handing the Lynx one of the just four losses they suffered before the Olympic break. Maya Moore was spectacular in the loss, dropping a season-high 40 points and grabbing 8 rebounds.

Bienvenido: Minnesota Lynx Re-Sign Guard Anna Cruz

Merhaba: LaToya Sanders rejoins Mystics, Jamie Weisner waived

Ouch: Ranking the Mystics’ roster based on under-performance

Other writers have made the point that the Mystics don’t have enough talent. I think it is worth examining a little closer in terms of expectation. 

What I have done is rank the team according to ‘disappointment’ this season. 

For me, “disappointment” is a metric. I will provide more numbers before the Mystics get back to business in another post on how to define disappointment, but the relative term works for now.

Dallas News: Scouting Wings-Mercury: Dallas hopeful Glory Johnson returns to end losing streak

Though the Wings have sunk in the standings of late, they are 3-0 this season against the Mercury (10-14). They will try to complete that sweep in the first game after the month-long Olympic break.

Excelle: WATCH: US Rowing women’s eight celebrates, responds to Diana Taurasi

LaChina Robinson wraps up the Olympic break  with her ‘Around the Rim’ podcast — Olympic victories and guests Julie Foudy and Teresa Edwards.

When you stick to your principals: Vermont women’s basketball team cancels game at UNC over HB2 law

Where will they be? Mistie Bass and Eddie Praley Named Graduate Assistants for #IUWBB

The pause before the return

.com: 6 Facts For 6 Gold Medals

This afternoon in Rio, the U.S. Women’s National Team won their historic sixth straight gold medal by defeating Spain 101-72. In honor of the incredible feat, here are six facts you need to know about the 2016 team.

Minneapolis Star: Sacrifices, bonds made U.S. women’s basketball journey special, not the routs

After another blowout victory and another medal ceremony for the U.S.women’s basketball team, Maya Moore was asked whether such dominance hurts her sport.

“When I find a really good piece of fabulous cuisine, I don’t say, ‘It’s too good,’ ” Moore said. “I say, ‘Give me another piece.’ ”

SB Nation: The lies USA women’s basketball tells itself to be the best team in the world

There was nobody close to Team USA women’s basketball. They won their average game by 37 points, with a “scare” coming in a semifinal matchup against France that they only won by 19. They rampaged through the competition to their sixth consecutive gold medal, extending their Olympic win streak to a preposterous 49 games.

It’s hard to find a storyline in dominance besides dominance, but I noticed something strange about Team USA: They kept lying to me. They kept saying things any rational person would know was false, in an attempt to make it seem as if the competition was close. I don’t know whether they believed the things they were saying, or whether they were just following the party line.

But they kept lying, and I think these lies helped fuel their unparalleled brilliance.

Yahoo: US women ready to dominate basketball for 20 more years

There’s a heritage of leadership passed along from one golden generation to the next, a legacy of success rivaling anything ever seen at the Games.

“This team will try to pass on to the next group of players just people leading by example,” said US guard Lindsay Whalen.

“We just try to do as well as we can and pass it on, kind of just the culture and the way we approach every game.”

.com: #RoadToRio Angel McCoughtry Recap

Times-Picayune: Watch Seimone Augustus in tears over gold medal: ‘Baton Rouge, this is for you’

Q13 Fox: Commentary: Sue Bird deserves a fifth gold medal – for making Seattle proud

As the Rio Olympics come to an end, I’d rather not give any more attention to the baffling Ryan Lochte incident or any of the other athlete controversies that made headlines this month – including the story of Mongolian coaches stripping off their clothes to protest a wrestling match earlier today, which is actually kind of funny.

Instead, why not celebrate the local athlete who made history – and has always been a role model off the court: Storm point guard Sue Bird.

Cool! Danielle Page becomes Nebraska basketball’s first Olympic medalist

AP’s Brian Mahoney: Go USA! Go Coach? For US basketball fans, Olympics a change

You love them now, right America?

Mike Krzyzewski and Geno Auriemma may have their haters in college basketball, but this is the Olympics. This is when patriotic pride trumps school spirit, when there is no Tar Heel blue, only red, white and blue.

So all those fans chanting “USA! USA!” should be shouting “Go Coach K!” 

“Well, I hope they’re saying that. I’m not sure all of them are completely saying that,” Krzyzewski said with a laugh. “But I would hope that most people are.”

BTW:
Catching Up With the 1996 Olympic Team: Nikki McCray
Catching Up With the 1996 Olympic Team: Tara VanDerveer

From Val Ackerman: Where are the female leaders in sports?

After spending eight years (from 2006–14) as the U.S. representative for men’s and women’s basketball on the central board of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), I can attest that Lapchick’s characterization of Olympic board rooms as an “exclusive club of men” is largely true. Based on my experiences, here’s a formula to improve gender inclusion as the glow of Rio fades and the Olympic world turns its attention to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

1. Acknowledge the facts.

Lapchick’s exhaustive report, which included more than 8,500 data points on the gender makeup of IFs and their zone and national affiliates across the Olympic spectrum, is an unequivocal barometer and should be required reading for anyone operating in the international sports realm. Hopefully, Lapchick or other researchers will build on this baseline data and produce follow-up reports so that improvement (or the lack of it) can be gauged.

Withdrawal? Ask Excelle: What to Watch this Week: League action returns from Olympic breaks; big slate of college events

Swish Appeal: Ice, Ice, baby and WNBA Power rankings

Interesting: Atlanta Dream on the move – The Atlanta Dream will have a new home court for the next two seasons.

LA Times: Women’s pro leagues like the WNBA and NWSL seek post-Olympics bounce, but it’s no slam dunk

Post-Olympics, those 30 elite female athletes will return to their professional leagues, the WNBA and the National Women’s Soccer League. And millions of viewers who watched them on TV at the Olympics will largely forget and move on.

Women’s professional sports continue to garner only a tiny fraction of the attention, TV ratings, advertising and salaries that men’s sports generate in the U.S.

Might I suggest the WNBA and its teams identify who from their community actually wrote about the Olympics (not even asking if they sent a reporter), drop them a “thank you” note and then invite them to attend a game.

Make it a (Golden) six pack

FoxSports

82016-Olympics-Geno-Auriemma-PI-AV.jpgReporter Doug: Good as gold: US women win 6th straight Olympic hoops title

Geno Auriemma and Diana Taurasi shared a long, emotional embrace. Mission accomplished.

Teresa Walker, AP, Olympic gold puts Griner in exclusive company

Griner also plans to keep this gold medal very close and in a place of honor.

“This is going up in my house. I don’t have any medals, any jerseys, I don’t have anything up at my house,” Griner said. “This is going up my house. This will be the only thing up in my house.”

Johnette Howard, ESPN: U.S. sets gold bar even higher, they’re ‘not going anywhere’

They kept hearing they’ve been routing everyone because their competition is getting worse, and they kept politely trying to tell us we have it all wrong. “It’s a little bit disrespectful, really,” said Diana Taurasi, one of the stars of the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team. And she’s right. The lazy take is the American team met little to no resistance on the way to its sixth straight gold medal Saturday, when it steamrollered Spain, 101-72, the same way it flattened everyone else it played in this eight-game tournament.

But the accurate explanation is the level of basketball the American women now play is as good, maybe better, than it has ever been.

Sam Amick, USAToday: USA women win sixth consecutive Olympic basketball gold medal

Even for fans who may not enjoy the WNBA action that all 12 of these women will now resume, theirs is the rare super team that more than lives up to the billing. The chemistry issues that dogged their U.S. male counterparts during these Games did not apply to the women, Auriemma blending the best in a seamless and collectively selfless way. Taurasi is nothing short of electric, having spent the past 16 years on the global stage showcasing the rare combination of play and personality that makes her such the entertainer.

It was all there to see in the finale.

Carl Ademac, SNY: Taurasi, Bird earn fourth Olympic gold; Auriemma wins second

“It’s just special,” Team USA forward Maya Moore said. “It’s one thing to do something unexpected, but it’s another thing to do what you’re expected to do — year after year, game after game, quarter after quarter. And, this team didn’t get complacent. “I think that’s a sign of a true champion, someone who loves the game and plays for the right reasons. Every quarter that we stepped on the court, we respected the game, we respected each other and we did everything we needed to do to deserve this gold.”

Swish Appeal: Team USA’s Golden Girls: Bird, Catchings and Taurasi

“Not many people have an opportunity to play in the Olympics… One, let alone two, three and four,” said Catchings.

“I’m blessed for all the opportunities I’ve had and all the lives that I’ve been able to impact by using the platform of basketball.”

Teddy Greenstein: Chicago Tribune: Sky’s Elena Delle Donne on first Olympic gold medal: ‘Somebody pinch me’

The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne played 16 nearly flawless minutes Saturday, hitting all three field-goal attempts, including one off the glass after taking contact. She drew some oohs when she swatted a shot by Spain’s tall and talented Astou Nador.

But asked for her favorite individual highlight, she replied: “A couple of those 3s Diana Taurasi was hitting. I just had to laugh and shake my head. I idolized her growing up, and to be able to play alongside her and see some of that craziness that I saw when I was a young kid falling in love with the game, that was really cool for me.”

Sporting News: With sixth straight gold, USA women deliver a tough message: ‘We’re not going anywhere’

It was more domination from an Auriemma team, which has gotten to be all too familiar on the college level, where his Connecticut teams have won nine national titles, including the last four in a row.

“When I got asked to do this, I thought, I must be crazy,” Auriemma said. “I go from a college program where it’s, ‘You’re bad for basketball because you win too much.’ Now I go to a program that, people are going to say, ‘You’re bad for international basketball because you win too much.’ The parallels are unbelievable. At the end of each four-year cycle, it’s not like you had to do a lot with players like this, but when you add up all four years, you look back and say, ‘That was a lot.’”

Yahoo Sports: With another gold, U.S. women’s basketball adds to legacy as Olympics’ most dominant team

U.S. rowers have now won 11 straight world or Olympic titles in women’s eight after finishing two seconds ahead of Great Britain on August 13. The U.S. women’s gymnastics team captured team gold and might have swept all three spots on the all-around podium had more than two athletes from each country been allowed to compete. And the U.S. women’s water polo team beat its six opponents in Rio by an average of 6.8 goals, surpassing its mark in 2012  when it tied Spain in pool play and survived three close knockout-round matches to win gold.

Impressive as those achievements are, none of those teams can match the vice grip the U.S. women’s basketball team has put on its sport for more than two decades now. The last 25 Olympic victories the Americans have claimed have each come by 10 or more points and the average margin in those games has been 37.

“They’re so good, so good,” Spanish center Laia Palau said.

Added Spanish guard Silva Dominguez, “To play against them, you’ve got to be perfect. If you’re not, you can’t win.”

LA Times: US women’s basketball team isn’t too good for its own good, it’s simply the best ever

It wasn’t until the Americans stepped on the medal stand, some fighting back tears, others simply beaming, that the several thousand fans remaining all seemed to realize the magnitude of witnessing arguably the greatest women’s team ever. They broke into a prolonged standing ovation that heartened an American team weary of hearing how they weren’t any fun.

“You guys are here now, we’re doing something,” said Taurasi, staring into a media crowd with a shrug. “Basketball is really important to a lot of people in the United States and no one takes it more seriously than the women. We play year-round, we sacrifice a lot of things to make sure we bring this home, and you know what? It’s OK, we’re happy.”

Today’s Fastbreak: Team USA women cruise to gold medal victory

The team wreaked havoc throughout the entire showcase with its closest win coming by 19 points in a win over France. The women’s club is certainly in a tier of its own. Via NBC Olympics, here’re the updated records that Team USA either shattered or set following Saturday’s contest:

  • Extending their Olympic winning streak to 49 games
  • Becoming the first team to score 100 points in four straight games
  • Recording 40 assists in one game to break their own record of 36 assists in a contest, which they set earlier in the 2016 tournament (the previous record was 36, set by the Soviet Union in 1976)
  • Scoring the most points in U.S. women’s Olympic basketball history with 121
  • Setting the U.S. record for biggest point differential with a 65-point win over Senegal

Jeff Zillgitt, USAToday: 

Catchings, Taurasi and Bird join Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards as the only U.S. basketball players to win that many gold medals.

“The players that you’re with, that’s what makes it so special,” Catchings said. “Winning the gold is awesome. But when we think about the sweat and tears and hard work, looking to the right, looking to left on the podium, seeing the flag go up, hearing the national anthem being played, it never gets old.”

Catchings, Bird and Taurasi will be forever linked to one of the greatest and most dominant runs in Olympic history amid a streak of six consecutive golds for the U.S.

Blue Star: Team USA Women’s Basketball Team creates Huge Gap with the Rest of the World

The scores of the United States’ women’s basketball games in this Olympics have been eye opening.

Team USA dismantled Spain, 101-72, here Saturday at Carioca Arena I, cruising to a sixth consecutive gold medal in a game that looked like just another mismatch against the best team in Europe. The United States averaged 102.1 points in this tournament, just short of the record 102.4 points the great 1996 team averaged, winning all eight of its games by an average of nearly 40 points.

Excelle: USA Basketball’s sisterhood of dominance only getting better

The strength with which USA Basketball turned away the Spain challenge in Saturday’s gold medal game—and the speed, with this one over by the second quarter—provided plenty of time for observers to consider the legacy of this 2016 team as well as what comes next.

There are a pair of ideas that are difficult to reconcile on these two fronts. The more impressed one is with the 2016 USA Basketball team, how singular their accomplishments and uniquely unmatched their diversity of talent, the easier it is to fret about what comes next for the Americans.

Barry Svrluga, Washington Post: U.S. women’s basketball team is unmatchable, on the court and at these Games

What must it be like to compete against these women, the dozen who make up the U.S. basketball team? They are tall and strong, quick and agile, skilled and fierce. These Rio Olympics have been defined, understandably, by Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, by Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. The truth: No athletes here are more dominant and peerless than the American women who play basketball.

“I’m in awe,” guard Seimone Augustus said, “all the time when I look around — at everyone.”

USA Basketball: U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Claims Sixth Straight Olympic Gold With Dominating 101-72 Win Over Spain

“Obviously it was an incredible tournament for us,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma. “From the very first game that we played to today, with very few exceptions I thought we played basketball at a really high level. I can’t say enough about our players. How quickly they’ve come together, how much they’ve been able to accomplish in less than a month that we’ve been together. 

“It wasn’t as easy as sometimes it looked, these last two games especially with France and today against Spain,” Auriemma continued. “These are very good teams that we’re playing, and you could see that it wasn’t just a cake walk, that it was a struggle. Then finally, because of our depth and because of the experience on our team, we were able to separate ourselves. But the way we played, we respected our opponents and we respected the game itself, we earned a lot of respect from a lot of people around the world, and I’m really proud of that.”

Photos and additional quotes:

Reflect on Athens in 2004 when you began this Olympic journey:

Bird: It seems like a really long time ago and in some ways it is. We knew the three of us were on that team to learn, to see what it meant to represent the United States at an Olympic event and to take the torch and run with it. We were really lucky to have the older players, the veteran players on that team, show us. Both with their play and with their words. We saw Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley, Tina Thompson, these are Hall of Fame players, we saw them not care about points, not care about rebounds, not care about any stat on the state sheet and only care about the gold medal. And we learned from that. I think hopefully we’ve done them proud as well, because that’s exactly how we played in each of the Olympics that we’ve been in. We just go out there and try to win.

The Future, from Reporter Doug: US women look to keep Olympic basketball dominance goingUS women look to keep Olympic basketball dominance going

Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Elena Delle Donne won gold medals in their Olympic debuts. Throw in two-time gold medalists Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Angel McCoughtry – who should all be back in 2020 – and there is another strong nucleus to build on for the Tokyo Games.

“I feel really confident about it,” Bird said of the future of the women’s program. “There are some question marks with the point guard spot, but I don’t think it will be an issue. They have plenty of time to figure it out. The three youngsters on this team, second timers, there’s such a large amount of talent in our country. We push each other every summer in the WNBA and show each other what it takes.”

Boston Globe: What’s left for Geno Auriemma to conquer?

“I wouldn’t trade all the winning for anything in the world, obviously,” Auriemma said. “You do have to keep somewhat reinventing yourself. You don’t ever want to just roll in there and say, ‘Well, this is what we’ve done and it’s been good enough, so let’s keep doing it this way.’ You’re always trying to stay current and stay above the competition because the more you win, the harder they work.”

Ken Davis, Today’s U Sports: One more golden moment for Taurasi, Bird and Geno

Sue Bird swears she was not star struck the first time she met coach Geno Auriemma. It was 1998 and she was a junior at Christ The King High School in New York, where she would win two state championships before beginning her college career at the University of Connecticut.

Bird was in Auriemma’s office after a UConn-Pittsburgh game and she wasn’t one bit nervous. That’s her story. And all these years later, Bird is sticking to it.

LATE ADD ON from Dan Bickley, Arizona Central w/ a couple, of great quotes (h/t ):

The postgame scene was profound. Mercury center Brittney Griner held out her medal, saying, “I’m addicted to this now.” She hugged head coach Geno Auriemma so hard that she actually lifted him off the ground.

“It was a long way (up for him),” Griner said. “I said, ‘You OK there? Did you get a little woozy?’ ”

***

Taurasi was the engine and leader of the entire outfit, making 33 3-pointers during the tournament. She hit two in succession on Saturday that broke the game open. She gave a Michael Jordan-like shrug after another. And she felt robbed by the refs who cost her a sixth trey.

“All I shoot is 3s,” she said. “Why would he give me a two? He said I touched (the line) with my nose.”

Lee has some nice quotes from Spain.

Julie Foudy: The Women of Team USA. Lordy – imagine what would happen if US universities were actually in compliance with Title IX (as it applies to athletics.)?

BTW: HUGE shout out to Spain and Serbia – awesome tournament and awesome commitment. Here’s to the continued support of their federations.

FIBA: Milovanovic: “This means the world to us” and Milica Dabovic’s bronze miracle

Milica Dabovic is riding off into the sunset of international basketball after “a miracle” bronze medal winning performance by Serbia.

Having played at her first EuroBasket Women 13 years ago, it took more than a decade but the 34-year-old captain first helped her national side join the upper echelon of teams with a EuroBasket Women title in 2015.

So, before we get back to the mad dash to the WNBA playoffs, take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of this amazing team, their stellar coaching staff, and their incredible USA Basketball support staff. It’s been quite a ride.

Are you saving up for Spain 2018? I sure am!

Sporting News: For Team USA women, the element of surprise fuels dominant offense

 As a coach, there can be a challenge in dealing with designing an offense around what are 12 of the 15 or 20 best players in the world. So what Team USA women’s coach Geno Auriemma—whose team takes on Spain for the gold medal on Saturday—prefers to do is let his players work out their own offense.

Auriemma gives them structure, sure. But in his view, if his players are not out there doing things he is not expecting on the offensive end, he’s not particularly happy.

AP: Sue Bird back in practice with U.S. women’s basketball ahead of gold-medal game

There was a calm, relaxed atmosphere at the final practice for the U.S. women’s basketball team. Maybe it’s because injured guard Sue Bird was able to participate. Or maybe because many of the players have been in this position before — a win away from another Olympic title. 

“I understand it’s a gold medal game, we’ve approached it like any other game,” said Bird, a Syosset native who has helped the United States win the last three golds at the Olympics. “At the start of this entire month, every single practice and game we approached it like it was a gold medal game. Today’s no different.”

Hartford Courant: Taurasi, Bird Nudged Geno To Coach U.S. Women Again

“I think it will be, maybe, after the fact because it’s unusual that you get the opportunity to do it in the first place and here I’ve had the opportunity to do it twice for eight years and it does bring back a lot of great memories,” Auriemma told reporters, according to USA Basketball. “It’s a special time in my life that just as my coaching career winds down I get to somewhat end it with the players who, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. So I guess it’s just fitting that it worked out that way.”

In case you were wondering: 10 teams whose dominance rivals that of USA women’s basketball

Nina at USA Today: 1988 gold medalist Teresa Weatherspoon on why USA basketball will win another gold

“If you look at who they have on the team, they’re dominating individuals all by themselves,” she said. “But when you have a coach like Coach Auriemma who can put them together and have them work toward one common goal, that’s success in itself.”

It’s success that’s likely to bring home a seventh gold medal and a perfect bow on two weeks of memories, Weatherspoon said — even if it didn’t come with new friends from the Olympic Village.

The Medium: What I did on my Summer Olympics Break, by Alana Beard – Taught kids to swim, did some coding, built a house … you know … the usual

She is already the definition of a Renaissance woman — not only kicking butt at Duke, being selected as the second overall draft pick in 2004 for the Washington Mystics, and achieving four-time All-Star status with the L.A. Sparks — but also because she always has something cool going on beyond basketball. This hustler always has a side hustle. Take coding, for example:

“Coding is something I have always been intrigued by,” she says, after learning the skill last fall. “I would always come up with app ideas, but knew I would have to depend on someone else to build it for me. So, I decided to teach myself. From the moment I sat down at the computer, I was in love.

NCAA: 

Have been keeping an eye open for this: SDSU’s Coach Burns refused to remain silent

A judge will begin the civil trial in Burn’s 2014 lawsuit against San Diego State University. In her complaint, Burns, who coached the women’s basketball team for 16 seasons and is the winningest coach in San Diego State history, claimed the university forced her resignation less than a year after leading the Aztecs to a school-record 27-win season.

Burns claimed the university fired her in retaliation for her insistent demands that the women’s program be given the same treatment as the men’s basketball program.