US Women vs Angola

Yes, Angola was outgunned in every way, but for their first ever Olympic games they showed up with plenty of spunk.  Q1 ended 22-12 and never got better from there, but it was fun to watch.  The Angola players stole the ball, drove to the basket, and never played like women intimidated.   Bravo to to them, the first game is under their belts, and hopefully we will see more from this country in future play.

Team USA played a solid game, but as gold contenders and #1 seed there is always room for comment.  I know that these women have had less then 2 weeks of practice time together and each of these games in pool play is time for them to coalesce as a team.  This game was a meditation in making shots from the foul line (89%).  These are the numbers I like, and expect, from professional ball players.  This game was also a study in the mid-range jump shot, an often underutilized skill that overshadowed by the want of flashy threes.  While not all were mid-range, they did have a 54% two point stat this game.  It was nice to see this kind of game executed as well as the strong team play that goes into its success.  The one weakness, that may be linked to this mid-range style, was the three point shot.  If they are going to work and improve, this is an area to concentrate on.  This game they were 2/17 for the three (12%).  The only players to find their shot were Catchings and Augustus, while Bird was 0/4 and Taursi was 0/5.  Clearly this team has a pocket full of skills, but if you are going to attempt that many you should make some.

This is a great time to remind ourselves Team USA is on a “drive for five.”  That is they are going for their fifth straight gold medal, a feat not done by any other basketball team, women or men.  It may be easy to let this team play second fiddle to the men’s Team USA, with names like James, Bryant and so forth.  And we know those men are extraordinary in basketball, but they are not going for their fifth straight gold.  These women hold more NCAA titles, none were drafted less than 4th, and some, like Maya Moore, hold amazing win records like going 115-4 at UConn while holding the 90 game undefeated streak for the NCAA.  I am not trying to create a pissing game of who have more accolades, but rather just a gentle reminder that not all greatness is held in one way.  Team USA is going for gold #5 and reminding ourselves of that will let us cheer them on a little louder!