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Silly me. I think it’s safe to unplug, catch up with family, friends and that thing we call work ’cause its “Down time in women’s basketball!”

But, nooooooooooo……

So, in order of loudness: Parker and the Olympics

Obviously, there’s a there’s a ton of stuff that we don’t know… and will never now. What makes the story even more fraught is that, like an onion, there are layers and layers of people around the story.

Seems to me there are a couple of narratives swirling around:

  1. The Selection Committee of USA Basketball (Carol Callan (USA Basketball), Reneé Brown (WNBA), Dan Hughes (WNBA), Chris Sienko (WNBA), Katie Smith (Athlete Representative)) made a decision on who should or shouldn’t be on the team based on several factors. In one of the most challenging decision years ever, they made a choice that several people have opinions on. For instance: 

Doug: Candace Parker disappointed, will not be on US hoops roster
Mechelle: Omitting Parker is a bad call by USA Basketball and USA Basketball’s failure to offer answers fuels speculation around Candace Parker’s exclusion
Sporting News: Candace Parker’s Olympic snub ushers in new era of women’s hoops

2. USA head coach Geno Auriemma has a grudge against Tennessee and Pat Summitt, so  he demanded that Parker not be on the team.

For instance: All for Tennessee: Was Candace Parker Railroaded from Team USA by Geno Auriemma?

This narrative makes the most sense to me. Yes, USA Basketball has stated ad nauseam that “the Committee makes the decisions,” but they’re lying. Contrary to what Tara wrote, it’s the USA basketball head coach who decides who wears the red, white and blue – which is why Parker is not on the team.

Sure, it’s been since January 7, 2007 that the Huskies faced the Vols, but Candace Parker was on. that. team. And they beat UConn, 70-62. And Parker scored 30. AND she dunked. And you know what is it they say: Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Auriemma couldn’t keep Parker off the 2008 team (he wasn’t the coach), and couldn’t keep her off the London team (probably didn’t have the power yet). Worse, when in London, he couldn’t stop her from taking over during the gold medal game against France. That must have been what set him off on his plotting. Now, four years later, he’s gotten exactly what he knows will make his career worthwhile: no Parker on the Olympic team.

Sure, he’s just coming off winning his 11th National Championship.
Sure, he’s just won four Final Fours in a row.
Sure, he just had his seniors be pick 1-2-3 in the WNBA Draft.
Sure, he’s so fried he ended up in the hospital.
Sure, he knew there would be a fan and player and coach and media firestorm that would pull the attention from the team he was going to coach in Rio….

But it’s all worth it. That kid who graduated from Tennessee in 2008 is not going to Rio. NOW his coaching resume is complete.

Just in case: sarchasm. the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’ t get it. 

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RebKell: Turkey v. USA

Olympics Women’s Basketball Preliminary Round Group A
The Basketball Arena – London, England – 10:15 PM Local Time – 5:15 PM ET
TV: NBC Sports Network / NBC Specialty: Basketball

Online video for cable subscribers:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/video-watch.html?video=womens-group-a-turkey-vs-united-states

Alternate online video:
http://www.thefirstrow.eu/watch/133233/1/watch-olympic:-united-states-vs-turkey,-womens.html

Preview/Boxscore:
http://london2012.fiba.com/pages/eng/fe/12/olym/p/eid/6232/gid/26/grid/A/rid/9087/sid/6233/game.html

http://www.nbcolympics.com/basketball/event/women/match=bkw400a09/index.html

Live stats:
http://london2012.fiba.com/extSTATIC/fiba-live/?event=6233(scroll down to game #26)

 Here’s the preview from USA Basketball: Preview – USA Women Take On Turkey

The U.S. women’s Olympic team has an edge over its male counterparts when it comes to international basketball: The style of play is second nature to them.That means the women don’t have to make major adjustments.

“The European game is different, we all know that,” said U.S. guard Diana Taurasi, who has played in both Turkey and Russia. “The best thing about it is that we’ve all played probably more European basketball than WNBA basketball. So we’re all really familiar with it, the way it’s reffed, the way they call things, the way you have to adjust during the game.

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Inside the Rings: A Giant Leap for Women, but Hurdles Remain

During Friday’s opening ceremony, Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, drew loud and sustained applause when he said: “For the first time in Olympic history, all the participating teams will have female athletes. This is a major boost for gender equality.”

It is true that women have come light-years from the first modern Games, held in Athens in 1896, when their presence was welcomed only as spectators. Women, too, have made significant gains even since the Atlanta Games in 1996, when 26 nations did not send female athletes.

Yet the fight for true equality is far from being won.

Something Jere’ doesn’t mention is coverage. Apparently David Stern asked the Times folks if they were going to cover the women.

I don’t believe he got an answer.

So, I don’t mind repeating myself: In case you’re inspired to do something about the missing coverage, twitter is, you know, very public. Since I can’t pick on EVERY news outlet, I’ll pick on my local NYTimes folks. Maybe the hashtag could be NYTimesOlympicFail?

@LondonLive: Continuous coverage of the #London2012 Olympics by New York Times reporters and editors.

@LondonLive: Hey, LondonLive Was wondering if you knew the US had a women’s national team in basketball. They’re pretty good, what with them going for their 5th gold. What do they need to do to get coverage?

@nytbishop: New York Times general assignment sports reporter.

@nytbishop: Hey Greg. Impressed with the number of words you’re writing about the men’s national team. Is there a rule new at the Times that you can’t write about the women? Just wondering.

Rob Mahoney @RobMahoney: I write basketball things at basketball places. The New York Times. ESPN TrueHoop Network. NBA Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk.

@RobMahoney: Hey Rob. I see you write “basketball things at basketball places.” Did you know that there are some basketball things happening that include women? Might want to check them out. They’re called the US National Team

About the basketball (which is on-going and very interesting!) The US plays Angola today. Viewing info from RebKell:

5:15 PM ET
TV: NBC Specialty Channel – Basketball

Online video for cable subscribers:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/video-watch.html?video=womens-group-a-angola-vs-united-states

Alternate online video:
http://www.thefirstrow.eu/watch/132945/1/watch-olympic:-angola-vs-united-states,-womens.html

Preview/Boxscore:
http://london2012.fiba.com/pages/eng/fe/12/olym/p/eid/6232/gid/15/grid/A/rid/9087/sid/6233/game.html

Live stats:
http://london2012.fiba.com/extSTATIC/fiba-live/?event=6233 (scroll down to game #15)

 

Learn a little about the Angolan team at Full Court. In case you missed Lee’s July 19th preview: London 2012: Angola — Just happy to be there

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Doug says: Cash, US women’s basketball team ready to face Angola in their 2nd game of the Olympics

“I was at a point in 2008 where I didn’t want to leave this game with people defining who I was as a player,” Cash said. “Going out with an injury is not what I wanted my legacy to be.”

A conversation with five-time Olympian and basketball great Teresa Edwards helped her refocus with one goal in mind — making it to London. Cash dedicated herself to getting healthy and now that the 32-year-old is back in the Olympics, she is ready to play whoever is next on the U.S. schedule.

From USA Basketball: U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Practice Quotes

Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)
Practice looked intense today, did you feel it was a good one?

It was a great practice. We came in. We worked hard. We practiced as if we didn’t play yesterday and don’t play tomorrow. I think it’s why we’re going to be able to play the way we want to tomorrow. We just came in, worked on some things offensively, added a few things and tightened up a few things on defense.

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

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here ’tis!

Hmmm… step father’s 80th BDay at 6:30, Gold medal at 4pm. The wireless better be workin’ or I’m going to be one cranky party goer. (Spitting and tossing salt over my shoulder to appease the basketball mojo gods….)

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From Full Court: London 2012: The United States — Only gold will satisfy

From Hoop Feed: Russian national team member Becky Hammon checks in from London, talks about Olympic prep, the toughest foes and more

From one of the palest women in the world, Val Ackerman: U.S. women living the dream

This summer, much is being written about the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Dream Team, which represented the United States in men’s basketball at the Barcelona Olympics. The descriptions about the team and its place in history have personal significance for me, because I served behind the scenes as one of the NBA’s staff liaisons to USA Basketball at that time.

It was a career highlight to be associated with this incredible collection of superstars, witnessing firsthand the way they mesmerized fans in San Diego, Portland, Ore., Monte Carlo and finally Barcelona. Traveling with the team that summer was truly like being on tour with a rock band, maybe even crazier. The Dream Team was — and remains — the gold standard of men’s sports teams, and it deserves credit for the way it captivated fans the world over and for transforming the game of basketball into a global phenomenon.

Another highly gifted U.S. team is gearing up for these Olympics, although much less is being written about its prospects and storied past. The USA Basketball women’s national team is in London with its sights set on a fifth consecutive gold medal in Olympic competition, a feat that has never been accomplished by any U.S. women’s traditional team sports program.

Somebody not called Mechelle writes: Why the U.S. women are beatable

The biggest challenge for the U.S. will be a potential lack of chemistry. While much of the world has spent months prepping for London, Auriemma’s squad will have had just 10 practices when they take the floor on Saturday. And three of those were back in May.

Though it wasn’t the most enjoyable of topics, Sue Bird admitted Thursday that, yes, the ingredients for a potential U.S. loss are more than there. This team isn’t unbeatable. The ingredients come in the form of complacency, human nature after prolonged success. Then you factor in the lack of experience playing together. And the fact that it’s a one-and-done tournament. Lose and you go home. Put it all together and the unthinkable could happen. Maybe.

Doug has: Taurasi, Bird and rest of US women’s basketball team ready to start Olympic play vs Croatia

“We have one goal in mind and that’s to win,” said point guard Sue Bird, who will be playing in her third Olympics. “For us, I think with our limited training time even as we start the games, the learning part is not over. We have to take each game and improve. I know people will say we’re playing Croatia — ‘they beat them by 54’ — it’s another opportunity to play together and get better.

From CNN: Anthony, Paul and Moore get interviewed by Soledad (whose feet are more dressed up than the rest of her)

From the Bleacher Report: USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team 2012: Stars Who Will Dominate (Maya workin’ the bear hat!)

From Ben York: Opinion: The USA Women’s Basketball Team’s Quest for a Fifth Consecutive Gold Should Be a Bigger Deal (no shit)

We—women’s basketball fans and supporters—don’t ask for much. People say we do, but we really don’t. One request, outlandish and eccentric as it may be, is to know (and be able to point out) who the players are if you’re calling the game. I know, we’re crazy like that. But, hey, it’s women’s basketball. Who cares, right? They’re lucky to even be on television! It’s not that big of a deal!

Adding to the nonsense, in nearly every timeout, the commentators would compare Team USA players to their male counterparts while crediting each storyline back to the players’ fathers (or another male figure) for advancing to the position they’re at today. As if, by doing so, somehow that makes their story greater. When in doubt, talk about men. Surely, they spent an equal amount of time during the men’s exhibition game(s) discussing the depths and dominance of the women’s team over the past two decades, right?

(Oh – prank time: Next time Tina sees Mark Jones, she should walk over and say to him, “Hi, Walt, I’m Sylvia.”)

From the Huffington Post: Can Women’s Team Win Another Gold?

No surprise, the official UConn basketball site has some coverage — but they also have feet on the ground in London: Team USA Will Open Olympic Play Saturday vs. Croatia

Earlier today, the team once again was treated to American Royalty.  During what was supposed to be a players-only event, the coaches and staff were asked at the last minute to participate in a special USA ceremony featuring past Olympians and guest of honor, First Lady, Michelle Obama.  Mrs. Obama gave an inspirational pep talk that also promoted her campaign for healthy living.

“I’m so inspired by you and am in awe of what you all have achieved,” she said. “Try to have fun; try to breathe a little.”

“I’m glad we were invited to see the First Lady speak,” said head coach Geno Auriemma.  “It was great to get a chance to listen to her talk about some of the commitments and sacrifices these kids have made to get here and how other people are going to look up to them and emulate them in many ways.  It was a reminder that the Olympics are a special event.  It’s not just another tournament.”

Speaking of the First Lady: London welcomes First Lady of fashion Michelle Obama as she dons ANOTHER patriotic outfit in support of Team USA

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