Thursday, July 10, 2008
2008 Women's Olympic B-Ball Groups Set
I mentioned in a post back in May that the 2008 Olympic draw to set the pools for the upcoming Olympic basketball competition were held by FIBA on April 26.
The FIBA Men's World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens, Greece is fast approaching to fill the remaining spots. The FIBA Women's World Olympic Qualifying Tournament was held last month from June 9-15 in Madrid, Spain and we now know who the final five women's b-ball qualifying nations are.
The final five are Latvia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Spain, and the Brazilians, who knocked off Cuba 72-67 in an elimination game to punch their ticket to Beijing.
So now that we know who the final five squads are, we can now fill in the group blanks.
Group A is now comprised of 2004 silver medallist and current FIBA world women's champ Australia, Korea, the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Russia, Brazil, Latvia and Belarus.
The three time defending Olympic champion Team USA will be playing in Group B with the host Chinese, Mali, New Zealand, Czech Republic and Spain. They'll open group play on August 9 against the Czech Republic.
The members of the 2008 version of Team USA aiming toward a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal are three-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith of the Detroit Shock, 2004 Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm, Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Tina Thompson of the Houston Comets.
Tina...Tina...Tina... Oops, had a Sea of Red flashback for a moment.
First time Olympians (and it probably won't be their last US women's team are Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, Sylvia Fowles of the Chicago Sky, Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks and Cappie Pondexter of the Phoenix Mercury.
The final three players selected for Team USA were announced today. They are 2000 Olympic gold medallist DeLisha Milton-Jones of the Los Angeles Sparks, 2004 Olympic gold medallist Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever and first time Olympian Kara Lawson of the Sacramento Monarchs
The US women ballers are being coached by Anne Donovan. Her assistant coaches are Mike Thibault, the head coach of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun and collegiate head coaches Gail Goestenkors of the University of Texas and the University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley.
Since women's basketball was first staged as a medal event at the 1976 Montreal Games, Team USA has won five golds, one silver, one bronze and compiled in Olympic play a 42-3 (.933) overall record in seven Olympic appearances. (We didn't go to the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow due to the boycott over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.)
Let the games begin, and hopefully we'll see a sixth gold medal being placed around the necks of our women b-ballers.