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Canada. Their defense was ridiculous.

The defense was stifling, even suffocating at times.

The United States women put on a clinic Tuesday, forcing the Canadians to take bad shots or not allowing them to shoot at all. The Americans, who cruised into the semifinals of the Olympic basketball tournament with a 91-48 rout, harassed Canada into three shotclock violations in the first seven minutes.

‘‘It’s one thing to miss a shot, but to not be able to get a shot off says a lot about your defense,’’ US coach Geno Auriemma said.

From USA Basketball, a couple of great post-game quotes from Geno:

On the relationship between the United States and Canada after last night’s soccer game and today’s basketball game:

Well, I’m sure the Brits, having two of their former colonies playing against each other, were hoping the roof would fall in and we’d all lose.

On knowing your team only becomes a huge story if you lose being a sign of respect to the level of dominance the women’s team has achieved:

We played a game for the ages against China, in terms of how well we played and executed, and somebody left a USA Today international lying around, and I picked it up to read about the Olympics, and there wasn’t one line or one sentence written about that game the next day. Not one. But, the top 10 preseason college football poll was in there, so that was really good, because I’m a college football fan. That goes back to what I said earlier. I think we have the mindset that we really don’t care. We’re way past that. There are no feminists on my team. We’re not running around burning our bras trying to make people believe in our team. I would burn mine, because it doesn’t fit like it used to. We just play basketball. And whether anybody cares or writes anything about it, there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re not in the PR business. We’re in the basketball business. That’s what we do. And, we’re pretty damn good at it.

Writes Jackie MacMullan: U.S. women are real Dream Team

But Auriemma said his group has steered clear of setting any side agendas aside from the obvious gold medal.

“If we win that, all the other stuff takes care of itself,” explained point guard Sue Bird.

That doesn’t mean others haven’t tried to come up with a catchy slogan for the U.S. women.

“Someone put shirts in our rooms that said ‘Road to Respect,’ ” Auriemma said. “I thought that was kind of dumb. Sue Bird has won two gold medals, two WNBA championships, a million championships in Europe, world championships for the U.S., and a couple of national championships with Connecticut.

“If they don’t respect her by now, then screw them.”

From Voice of America: US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Dominating in London (and prepping for Australia)

From somewhere not in London, Mechelle writes: Aussies face tough semifinal task

Short of somehow being able to protect Penny Taylor from an ACL injury earlier this year, Australian star Lauren Jackson has done everything she can to try to win Olympic basketball gold.

Rebecca Lobo’s hubby, Steve Rushin, writes for SI:Finding a long forgotten gold medal and getting chills all over again

But the kids’ Olympic spirit was most evident when they were racing down the upstairs hallway, or racing scooters down the driveway, or fighting to be first in the car — their usual taunts of, “I won, you lost” replaced by Olympian taunts of, “I won gold, you won silver.”

“Where’s your gold medal?” our 5-year-old daughter asked her mother after one of these races.

“In a bank,” she replied. And then, after a pause: “At least I think it is.”

The kids had never seen her gold medal, I’d never seen her gold medal, and my wife, Rebecca Lobo, hadn’t seen her own gold medal in 16 years, since a few days after she’d won it in Atlanta. Now, she wondered if it really was still in that safe deposit box, for which she hadn’t seen a bill in ages. What if the bank lost her forwarding address, and auctioned off the box, perhaps to one of the guys on Storage Wars? (I pictured Barry Weiss holding it in those skeleton-gloved hands of his.)

Also at SI, Kelli Anderson writes: U.S. must take down Aussies before playing for fifth straight gold medal

The NY Times finds some space for the women’s team: U.S. Coach Keeps Talking, and His Team Keeps Winning
The United States women’s basketball team battered another overmatched opponent Tuesday. Afterward, Geno Auriemma talked the way only Geno Auriemma can.
He described his coaching style in these Olympics as “more British,” and by that he meant calmer, more understated. He called the T-shirt someone left in his room recently, the one with the “Road to Respect” slogan, “kind of dumb.”
Doug previews tomorrow’s Aussie/US game: US-Australia women hoop teams square off in semis

Even though they have had their way with Australia, the Americans are wary of what’s at stake.

“I think the semifinal game for whatever reason is sometimes harder,” U.S. point guard Sue Bird said. “They’ve been even more competitive than some of our gold medal games. This point the four teams left are very good teams. It’s no surprise that these four teams are in this situation. Everyone’s trying to get the chance to win a gold medal.”

Make sure you get out of work on time or take a late, long lunch: game’s at 5:12EST – NOTE: Or does ET mean English Time? Looks like it: ESPN has the game listed as NOON EST. I know when I’m takin’ lunch!

At Full Court, Clay has his preview: Can Australia finally beat Team USA? It could happen and adds, for the 9pmEST game, No tanking this time — Russia and France are playing for a shot at gold.

From Lee: Russia squeaked out a win over Turkey

“It was our goal not to match up with the USA in the quarterfinal or semifinal. We have done our best in the group stages to make sure we didn’t match up with them early. It makes it easier but it’s going to be a battle regardless of who we face. I don’t know which one [the United States or its semifinal opponent Australia] I would choose,” said Russia’s Anna Petrakova.

And, it’s official: Lauren Jackson becomes all-time women’s Olympic high scorer as Australia wears down China to advance

So often the focus is on the stars, but even though Liz Cambage (Tulsa Shock) scored a game-high 17 points for Australia, the reason the Opals beat China, 75-60, in the quarterfinals of the London 2012 Olympic competition in women’s basketball today wasn’t the 6-8 20-year-old sensation, nor even the all-around play or record-breaking scoring of superstar Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm). The real reason for the win was the depth of Australian roster.

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Diandra Tchatchouang will not return to Maryland next season.

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