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Get a bunch of scrubs to play a quarter against the USA women just before they start their game against Canada, and everything will be just fine. (Nice to see the DFP getting the route/rout difference)

’cause, dang, they start slow! BUT, this time their last three quarters were beautiful. And the records were hard earned.

“Sometimes you play a game and things are off a little bit,’’ Taurasi said. “Today, even in the first quarter when they hung in there and were playing really well, I felt like we were playing a little bit better and it carried over into the 40 minutes.’’

The quarters are now set. Next up for the US, archery… I mean, Canada. Clay at Full Court has a preview:

At this point, it is traditional for the sports journalist to settle back, assemble information, cogitate thoroughly, and then deliver a thoughtful analysis of the next round of competition.

That is a wonderful theory, but as is often the case, some annoying facts are going to get in the way. Consider:

1) Of the eight teams left in the women’s basketball quarterfinals, two stand out. The United States, the heavy favorite, is one, and Canada, the plucky over-achiever, is the other. On top of that, those two play each other in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, which means they don’t really factor into the discussion.

2) The six remaining teams are all talented, competent international teams. Two will win medals, very likely (only a shocking upset or two of the U.S. would allow three on the podium), and only those two will consider the Olympics a success.

So what do coaches need to do to maximize their chances of being one of the lucky two?

Doug writes: Time for Olympic vets to lead US women’s hoop team and this US women’s hoops team looks to raise level of play and this Moore: US hoop star wants to be like ‘Meek’

Side note: Opals, Boomers provide spark for game Down Under

I guess it’s too early to ask where the players will be sitting when they fly home?

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purchase USA Women’s Basketball jerseys: Olympic women’s basketball ratings records surge in viewership

On television, NBC is reporting it had 11.4 million viewers for the USA Women’s Basketball opener against Croatia on July 28, an increase of +96 percent when compared to the two game average on NBC in 2008. The game, which the Americans won 81-56, peaked with 12.3 million viewers during the first quarter. The Croatians only trailed 31-28 at that point.

Jayzus! Imagine if, say, 1% of those viewers purchased a USA Women’s Basketball jersey. Just THINK of the attention that might draw to the women’s game. That would be absolutely horrible (David Stern, you who complain to the NY Times about their lack of coverage of the women’s team and yet let the “jersey-free Olympics” debacle contiue.)

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Now for something completely different: WNBA star Swin Cash and Brian Davies argue over which is better, the USA Men’s Basketball team or the Women’s. Baron Davis stars as British rock star Brian Davies, breaking down the Olympics as you’ve never seen before.

This from the Connecticut Sun: Checking In From London – Asjha Jones and Tina Charles took a few minutes out from representing the United States in London to answer a few questions about their experience so far.

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from Full Court: Diana Taurasi plays “Know Your London Lingo”

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US women’s hoops rookies are experienced veterans

Referring to the five newcomers on the US women’s Olympic basketball team as rookies is a bit misleading.

Sue Bird actually finds it amusing.

“Lindsay Whalen and Asjha Jones are considered rookies, that’s pretty comical,” the American point guard said. “In terms of Olympic experience, it’s new for them. They’ll enjoy it the same way we did the first time.

“But they’ve faced almost everyone we’ll be playing against.”

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over at Full Court:

London 2012: Czech Republic — Experience plus size could equal a medal

London 2012: Brazil — With Castro Marques gone, so are Brazil’s medal hopes

London 2012: Great Britain — Hosts hoping for a win

London 2012: France — It’s now or never for Les Bleus

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more US women participating in the Olympics than the men (still waiting for the anti-Title IXers to start whining about that being unfair.) I liked Taurasi’s deadpan reaction to the information: “Shocked. Shocked. How’d they let that happen?”

Like many women (and male) Olympians, she is not immune to the sexism of the IOC and FIBA (I do not envy Val Ackerman’s gig, but I admire her for fighting, fighting, fighting.)

And, of course, we’ve been following the other news thread: Olympians complain of gender discrimination

The women’s team was assigned seats in premium economy for the 13-hour flight to Paris while the nation’s under-23 men’s team was up front on the same flight.

“It should have been the other way around,” 2011 FIFA women’s world player of the year Homare Sawa told Japanese media after arriving in the French capital. “Even just in terms of age we are senior.”

Basketball Australia says it will review its travel policy for national teams after complaints that the men flew business class to the Olympics while most of the women sat in premium economy. The women’s team is by far the most successful of the two, having won silver medals at the last three Olympics. The men, who will be led in London by San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills, have never won an Olympic medal.

Back to US athletes: for me, the big questions will center around coverage: how will the number of stories published on US women athletes compare to those published on US men athletes? If I were a betting woman, I’d guess there’ll a significant discrepancy, say 65% men to 35% women? What’s your guess?

Of course, no matter how many lines of text are used, it will be equally important to look at the language used. Consider this from Feministing.com: Olympic sexism study: Male athletes have skill and female athletes have luck

According to a new study on past television coverage of the Olympics, sports commentators talk about athletes in notably different ways depending on their gender. And by “notably different” I mean “pretty sexist.” The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Delaware, analyzed NBC’s primetime coverage of past games. The main findings:

  • When female athletes succeed, commentators tend to focus on luck and less on physical ability.
  • When female athletes fail, physical ability and commitment are noted.
  • When male athletes succeed, commentators applaud their skill and commitment to the sport.
  • When male athletes fail, it is not necessarily about their failure, but about how their competitors succeeded.

Adding more info to the overall conversation, and with a huge h/t to sue:

The Curley Center for Sports Journalism has published an interesting study on why more women don’t watch women’s sports. Key findings:

In drawing from the conversations, we suggest that fanship is something more than simply developing an affinity for a certain team, but rather a complex concept mediated by one’s gender roles. For example, most of the women expressed a preference for the Olympics (an especially timely finding and one that sparked the initial popular interest in the piece). Indeed, analysts are saying that the female audience watching the Olympics will be larger than ever. Our research helps explain why this is; we note that the way the Olympics are presented – in short, easy-to-digest packages – are especially easy to appreciate for individuals who do not have the luxury of sitting down in front of the television for three uninterrupted hours. Rather, for those who are responsible for childcare and other domestic labor duties (generally women, according to existing wide-scale sociological research), the routine of sitting down only to get back up quickly to tend to something in the house is all too familiar. Thus, the ability to turn on the TV for 15 minutes, see a nice, tidy package of, say, track and field, is especially conducive for people with a hectic and full schedule in the home…….

The challenge to building a women’s sports fan base is also mediated by the form of domestic life. As the women in this study showed, watching sports was not a leisure activity, but rather associated with emotion labor. On the latter part of this two-pronged challenge, media producers and women’s sports advocates interested in building audiences in the short-term need to acknowledge and address the structural impediments facing women with the potential for interest in watching women play. For instance, airing professional women’s sports on weekends is a barrier for many women who perform traditional gender roles associated with childcare.

You’ll remember the numbers on “traditional gender roles:”

The number of hours men and women commit to housework has remained roughly the same over the last several years, according to a new American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statics. This, even while women continue to take on a bigger role in the workforce. Let’s look at the numbers:

In 2011, 83% of women and 65% of men “spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care or financial and other household management,” according to the report (which you can find here). The year earlier, the spread was 84% to 67%, respectively. Flash back to 2003 and the numbers were at 84% and 63%. So, sure, we’re seeing some change but none that I’d classify as particularly profound — especially when you look at how the workforce is divided today.

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From Jim Fuller (my 3:15am train traveling companion — oh, the lush life of beat writers!): Sue Bird to rejoin team Saturday in Turkey

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recent coulda-woulda-shoulda-beens… Charles, Brunson and Peters…. sigh.

While the Lib play “anything you can do, I can do worser” with the Mystics, Peters’s play haunts New York fans.

There are games on TV today, so watch: Saturday Open Thread: The League Commemorates Title IX’s 40th Anniversary with Three Games, Starting at 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT.

If you do, you’ll probably catch this W-spiced Boost Mobile advert.

Is there something in the Gatorade, ’cause “worst loss in franchise history” seems to be a theme – welcome to the club, Sun.

If you can figure out the SASS, call me, ‘kay? They’ve been a conundrum since that phantom foul that sent Phx to the Finals.

Sucks to be Prince-less.

You know you’re in trouble when a writer calls your site “influential.” Sure I am — that’s why the NYTimes doesn’t have a WNBA tab for game scores.

Congrats to WHB fav Jo Leedham, GB Olympian (along with Harvard’s Fagbenle and Florida’s Stewart), who pulled a rare double-double v. the Czech Republic: 19-pts, 12 steals.

Their best-ever performance, defensively and offensively, came after a 10-day road trip which has seen Great Britain also defeat Argentina, South Korea and Canada who are all ranked in the world’s top 12.

Surging like that would certainly suggest a realistic chance of making the quarter-finals in the London Olympics and possibly beyond – a remarkable achievement given where the team started from.

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Dybas: Bird, U.S. women hoopsters look ready

After Friday’s practice, it was suggested to de facto Team USA captain Diana Taurasi that ongoing international dominance of women’s basketball by one country may not be good for the game.

Taurasi was a large part of Connecticut’s tyrannical three college titles in four years (2001, 2002, 2004). She also won two WNBA championships with the Phoenix Mercury. And, no one has beaten the U.S. women’s team in the Olympics since 1992.

Presented with these facts and the theory, Taurasi was introverted, per usual.

“I do not give a (bad word),” Taurasi said. “I’m trying to win a gold medal.”

That’s that.

Please, please, please ask the men’s national team the same question.

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Asjha Jones

“It’s an honor,” said Jones. “My mom, everyone in my family is so excited for me. I think it’s exciting how people respond to you when you tell them. A lot of people want to cry. Just to see the way people react to the news is really special. I’m really exited. I’m so excited to be a part of this.

Add on: From Mechelle: Why did Jones addition happen now?

Now, before anyone starts grumbling about this being a case of the college-connection version of nepotism, remember that Auriemma doesn’t pick the team. He has input, but a committee makes the decisions about who fills the Team USA roster. National team director Carol Callan heads up the committee; the other members are five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, San Antonio Silver Stars coach/GM Dan Hughes, Indiana Fever GM/CEO Kelly Krauskopf and WNBA executive Renee Brown.

Additional add on/flashback from AP Doug: US women’s Olympic team soon to be unveiled

One of the hardest tasks for any coach is cutting players.

It’s even more difficult when many of the players involved have helped you reach the pinnacle of your profession.

Fortunately for U.S. women’s national basketball coach Geno Auriemma, those decisions are made by a five-member selection committee. Sure the UConn coach gives a lot of input on whom he would like on the Olympic team, but the committee has the final say.

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Penny Taylor Tears ACL, Will Miss WNBA Season And Olympics

From the Telegraph: Penny Taylor’s season-ending knee injury a huge blow for Australian Opals ahead of London Olympics

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