No team has been more dominant at the Olympics over the past 20 years then the U.S. women’s basketball team, winning five straight gold medals. They’ll try and keep that streak going in Rio. “Training time is always our biggest challenge,” said three-time gold medalist Sue Bird. “When you get to the medal rounds it’s one and done, but we have a lot of experience in those games and look to continue our recent success.”
The Americans have won 41 consecutive Olympic contests dating back to the bronze medal game in 1992, winning by an average of nearly 30 points a game. With nine players, including Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings, returning from the London Games, the U.S. is a heavy favorite to win another gold medal.
Olympic newcomers Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart will add a dynamic mix to the veteran core.
The only potential thorn for the U.S. is lack of training time. While most other countries get to spend months together preparing, the U.S. has about two weeks before its first game. Although a lot of that time has been spent crisscrossing the country.
“I’m hoping that they remember some of the stuff that we did last year at the World Championship and a couple years ago at the Olympics and maybe February at that little training camp that we had,” U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. “Fortunately, they’re a lot of the same players that played. So we haven’t changed a whole lot. But there’s not much time and there’s not much that you can do to get ready. You just have to trust that they’re … They never let you down. They always seem to respond when you need them to.”
The U.S. is in a difficult group with Serbia, China, Canada, Spain and Senegal.
“Obviously we’re in a tough group,” Auriemma added. “Because anytime you have the European champions like Serbia already in the group and Canada, the Americas champion, those are two really good teams. And then you add in China and Spain.”<more>