11:59 am Jul. 31, 2012
In the last four Olympics, the U.S. women's basketball team won every game it played in the course of winning four gold medals. Despite that record, the team, and the women's game in general, doesn't get much attention in America.
In London, the national team has picked up right where they left off, beating Angola Monday night by a score of 90-38, following an earlier 81-56 win over Croatia.
Next up for the American women is Turkey, a team that is also 2-0.
Here are some reasons you should watch them.
1. They're titans in the making: Candace Parker is a female Dirk Nowitzki, and Sue Bird is the WNBA’s Tim Duncan: steady, reliable, level-headed, and an M.V.P.
2. They've won their last four Olympic medals by an average of 29 points in the final. That’s extraordinary.
3. Geno Auriemma, head coach for both the U.S. and the University of Connecticut women’s basketball teams, is pressuring his women to play the game with style and grace. He’s hoping that this year the U.S. won’t just win, but will set the international technical standard for women’s basketball. Lofty, but reasonable goals, given that:
4. The U.S. women have won four consecutive gold medals and are internationally recognized as far and away the best women’s team in the world. Since 1992, they haven’t lost an Olympic game—that’s 20 years and 34 match-ups. Since women’s basketball was made an Olympic sport in 1976, the U.S. has won six golds, one silver and one bronze medal.
5. This year’s U.S. team is rich with talent and Olympic experience. A number of the players, including Tamika Catchings, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, are back for their second or third Olympic games.
6. If they were to have a rival, it would be Australia, who until Monday, when they lost to France, were unbeaten at the Olympics by every team except the U.S. since 1996, when they fell to the Ukraine. The FISA ranks the U.S. with 940 points, which is 200 points above second-place Australia. Perhaps this is the Olympics a new closest rival emerges?
7. These are the Title IX Olympics, the first time there are more females than males in the U.S. delegation. It's the beginning of a new age for women’s sports in America, and the women's basketball team is setting a standard for other female Olympians to live up to.
8. This is one of those occasions on which it's completely OK to be a bandwagon fan.