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From Dishin’ and Swishin’: Podcast: Can Phoenix & New York make a playoff run? Corey Gaines & Monique Ambers discuss their teams

From the Norwich Bulletin: Sun players pleased for teammates’ Olympic success

The jet lag may not be all that bad — it’s only a five-hour time difference between Connecticut and London —  but the hangover from winning the Olympic gold medal may be something that Tina Charles and Asjha Jones will have to overcome.

During the WNBA‘s Olympic break, which began July 14, the Sun have been doing their best to keep one of the league’s top motors revving by holding practices for their remaining nine players since just before the start of the London Games on July 27.
You can see her feet tapping inches away from the floor where they would rather be running.
Besides 36 minutes of the pre-Olympic WNBA season, Diana Taurasi has been on the wrong side of the thin black line that frames the Mercury’s home court. A hip-flexor strain and ankle problems have kept Taurasi from donning the only clothes she’d want to wear at Mercury games. Instead, she’s been relegated to cheering her team on from the sidelines in casual business attire.
She hasn’t been alone.
No, she hasn’t. Add in Phoenix’s mayor: Phoenix Mercury Dominate Then Break Mayor Greg Stanton’s Nose
Now, about that thing that just happened in London:
Kelli Anderson at SI: U.S. women did not generate buzz, but did generate fifth straight gold

Simply put, this group was a collection of low-maintenance, high-production gym rats, similar in talents the players who came before, but different. No player from the 1996 team that started this golden run is still playing. “That’s what makes the streak even more impressive,” said Bird the day before the gold-medal game. “It’s not the same group of people playing great together. It’s a different group every time. There are people without gold medals on this team. And then there are people who have them and want to keep that legacy going, to keep that history alive, take the torch, so to speak, from those who came before us and do well with it.”

Doug: A repeat in Rio? US women’s hoops team thinks it’s possible after winning Olympic gold

From Fox Sports Arizona (or is it also Doug’s?)  Unsure of legacy, Taurasi wants fourth gold

Diana Taurasi’s already impressive Olympic resume isn’t finished.The U.S. shooting guard has three gold medals and plans to be at the 2016 Rio Games looking to win a fourth.Still, the 30-year-old Taurasi isn’t ready to pencil herself into an all-time starting lineup of U.S. Olympic women’s basketball players that would undoubtedly include four-time gold medalists Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards.Others, though, say Taurasi belongs.

And, Down Under, the fight goes on: Lundy, Opals to push for end to gender discrimination

THE second-class treatment of Australia’s female Olympic basketballers was tip-of-the-iceberg evidence of the gender discrimination that still exists in sport, which the federal Sports Minister, Kate Lundy, leaves the London Games determined to rectify.

Her claim, on the eve of the closing ceremony, that ”basketball is not alone” came as the Opals captain and Australian team flag bearer Lauren Jackson, and her teammate Kristi Harrower, felt free to discuss the furore over the male and female teams’ different travel arrangements after they completed their competition with a bronze medal.

Most of Australia’s national women’s team flew to London in premium economy class while their male counterparts travelled – as a general rule – in business class.

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to a pretty glorious day, no?

Everyone knew the Aussies were going to be a handful. Most knew that it would come down to how the US handled the Opals size inside and how the Aussies matched up against the American depth and conditioning. A quick compare and contrast the halves via the box score tells an accurate tale. (And the free throw shooting shows how much pressure everyone felt – very Elite Eight-ish, no?)

Various folks (none, of course, from the NY Times. They haven’t even bothered to link Doug yet.) on the game:

From Doug: U.S. holds on, defeats Australia

Now this was something new. The U.S. women’s basketball team faced its first Olympic halftime deficit in 12 years on Thursday night as it tried to reach the gold medal game for the fifth straight time.

Not to worry.

From Full Court, Clay writes, Team USA finally wears down Australia, advances to gold medal game and Lee asks London 2012: Will semis loss to the U.S. be the end of an era for Australian women’s basketball?

Deep in the bowels of North Greenwich Arena, home to London 2012’s men’s and women’s basketball contests in their knockout stages, in a rabbit warren known as the mixed zone, one of the few areas in the Olympic venues where athletes and the media are permitted to interact, Kristi Harrower stood crying.

And not just a tear or two dripping down her sweaty cheeks, but full-fledged sobs — to the point where the Australian reporter standing next to me, as most of the press engulfed the handful of U.S. players who had made it past the broadcast access points, said he found himself choking up himself. As for myself, I felt so moved by Harrower’s uncensored emotion that I contemplated risking my Olympic credential by reaching across the metal barricade that separated us and giving her a hug. Then, like a coward, I thought better of it, and allowed the scene to continue, one lonely woman standing there crying, some six or so of the rest of us, journalists, Australian team handlers, and Olympic volunteers alike, awkwardly shuffling from foot to foot and wondering what to do.

Mechelle writes from her Room with a View of the television: Deeper, more fit USA tops Australia – Americans will play for their fifth consecutive gold medal after rallying in semifinals

Well, if you’ve watched the Americans throughout this Olympic tournament, you probably suspected their defense would kick in during the second half. And it did. Cambage didn’t score after halftime and didn’t even seem nearly as involved in the game.

From Jackie MacMullen: Taurasi, Team USA to play for gold – Americans rally from four-point halftime deficit for 86-73 semifinal victory

So it happened. Somebody finally punched the United States women’s basketball team squarely in the face.

And you know what? U.S. tri-captain Diana Taurasi kinda liked it. Not trailing by four points at halftime, exactly, but the fact this semifinal Olympic game against Australia was edgy, contested.

“Not the worst thing for us,” she suggested.

Over at the Examiner, it’s Mike Peden

Australia center Elizabeth Cambage had a powerful first half, but the United States had a more powerful overall game.

That effectively summed up the semifinal bout of the Olympic Games tournament between the two meccas of women’s basketball, with the United States continuing their dominance of the rivalry, winning 86-73 Thursday at North Greenwich Arena in London, England.

The Sporting News’s Sean Deveney:

It is as if Sue Bird knew what was coming.

Before Team USA settled in to face Australia in the semifinals at North Greenwich Arena, Bird warned that in her experience, the semifinal has been the toughest game the Americans have had to contend with. And, facing an Australia team they had dealt with in the gold-medal game in the three previous Olympics, there was little doubt the game would be difficult.

It did not disappoint.

Reuters’ Larry Fine: Olympics-Basketball-U.S. beat Australia, into women’s final

“We’ve played a lot of basketball in the last month with my team and I don’t think anybody’s played better against us than Australia did in that first half,” said U.S. coach Geno Auriemma. “That was an impressive display of basketball.”

K.C. Johnson (with a little drop-by from Pokey) at the Chicago Tribune says:

The U.S. women’s basketball team has won games with its talent and tenacity, its defense and depth.

On Thursday, in a taut semifinal far closer than the final score indicated, it used all those qualities and added one more: its leadership.

Ray McNulty at Scripps Howard News Service: U.S. women’s basketball team struggles, beats Australia

The world’s best women’s basketball team found itself in an unusual predicament as it walked off the floor Thursday midway through its Olympic semifinal game against Australia.

Behind on the scoreboard.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been down going into halftime,” U.S. forward Candace Parker said.

Jeff Zillgitt’s USA Today headline writer gets a little carried away: Moore carries U.S. women’s basketball team to final

It wasn’t Moore’s finest offensive performance. She made 4 of 10 shots and coach Geno Auriemma spoke from experience, having coached Moore for four seasons at UConn. At 23, she is the team’s youngest player.

“This is her first experience at the Olympics,” Auriemma said. “She kind of played the way she did when she was a freshman at Connecticut. Every time she touched it, she shot it. Today, it helped us and hurt us, and other players reminded her, ‘Hey.’ She was so hyped up because she wanted to play so well.”

William James from Reuters adds, “Amazing” Cambage make U.S. sweat for victory

Over at the Wall Street Journal: U.S. Women Squeak By Australians in Basketball

Kelli Anderson at Sports Illustrated writes:

There was no need to panic, really. The U.S. women’s basketball team had been in close Olympic matches before, and it had been down at the half before. It might take a little research to confirm that, but after the USA’s 86-73 semifinal victory over Australia on Thursday, U.S. co-captain Sue Bird insisted that it has happened, even recently.

“Everybody thinks we steam roll, but go look at previous Olympic box scores, that’s not always the case,” she said.

From Jim Morton at the NZ Newswire: Cambage has lessons to learn: Graf

Opals coach Carrie Graf hopes rising basketball star Liz Cambage learns her lessons after sparking a Twitter storm before Australia’s gold-medal dream ended on Thursday night.

Cambage had initially laughed off suggestions she took a swipe at swimmer Stephanie Rice over her purported fling with married US basketballer Kobe Bryant in the lead up to the 86-73 semi-final loss to US. (Oiy vey)

Some fun shots of the game at the Sacto Bee.

From Roy Ward and the Greater Dandenong Weekly: London 2012: Cambage and Rangers stars do Aussies proud against US

From the busy folks at USA Basketball: USA Women Rally Past Australia 86-73 To Advance To Gold Medal Game. They also have post-game quotes and photos. From Augustus:

On the team’s second half effort:
When Sue Bird has to yell at you about something it’s a problem. I think everybody took it personally, the way we defended in the first half. It was very disappointing to see Cambage get easy shots like she did. So they came out and played awesome and the second group just took it upon themselves to be a little more aggressive and put the pressure on Australia early.

By virtue of their 17-point win over Russia, les Rouge, Blanc et Bleu will face Les Bleus

Nobody talks about us. We don’t exist in the Olympic Village,” said French coach Pierre Vincent. “The only way to exist is to win. I told the girls in the locker room, if we win, we will exist.”

Yah, you predicted that final. Not.

From Doug:

France just doesn’t want the Olympic party to end.

Singing and dancing their way around the court after knocking off another women’s basketball power, France advanced to its first gold medal game with a 81-64 victory over Russia on Thursday.

Edwige Lawson-Wade scored 18 points and Emilie Gomis added 15 points for France, which will play the U.S. on Saturday in a matchup of the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament.

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