Saturday was the first official day of competition of the 2012 London Games and to paraphrase an old Ice Cube rap song, today was a good day for the USA’s women’s Olympic sports teams.
The USA women’s basketball team started on the road to a fifth consecutive gold medal by getting Group A pool play started in the Basketball Arena with an 81-56 win over a scrappy Croatia team that has been zooming up the FIBA basketball rankings lately.
Croatia trailed 11-4 after the first quarter but sloppy USA play, early shooting woes and turnovers kept Croatia close. Croatia started lighting it up from three point range in the second quarter after attempting and failing to score inside and were rewarded with a shockingly brief second quarter lead and visions of a ginormous upset dancing in their heads until Diana Taurasi launched back to back threes of her own that gave Team USA a narrow 31-28 halftime lead.
Team USA went to work expanding that narrow lead to a six point cushion by the end of the third quarter thanks to Angel McCoughtry coming off the bench to provide an offense and defensive spark.
A 16-0 fourth quarter run secured their 34th consecutive win in Olympic b-ball play since the 1996 Atlanta Games. Next up is Angola, and you can bet Team USA will be ready for that game.
While the USA roundballers were getting their Olympic pool play wakeup call, the Team USA soccer players were in Glasgow, Scotland’s Hampden Park playing in a rough and tumble match with a scrappy Colombia that featured 30 fouls and goals from Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd.
Wambach’s goal in the 74th minute was her 140th career international one and her sixth in Olympic play to pass Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett on the USA all time Olympic goal scoring list.
The had fought 3-0 win guaranteed that Team USA would make it to the quarterfinals, and they can capture Group G with a win or draw against North Korea at Old Trafford in Manchester, England on July 31.
The world number one ranked USA women’s indoor volleyball team is attempting to win our first ever Olympic gold medal.
They got their Olympic tournament started at Earl’s Court in a positive manner with a 3-1 Group B win over South Korea and a dominating performance by Destinee Hooker.
Team USA took the first two sets by 25-19 and 25-17 scores before the South Koreans clawed their way back into the match by taking the third set 25-20. Team USA regrouped and with the score at 15-14 in that fourth set went on a 7-1 run to take a 22-15 lead to put them on the way to clinching the set and eventually a hard fought 25-21 win
Their next Group B match will be on July 30 against number two world ranked Brazil. Like Team USA, Brazil is considered a gold medal favorite and have been traditionally strong in the sport. Brazil held the FIVB number one world ranking for four years until the USA took it over at the end of 2011.
After the July 30th volleyball tussle with Brazil Team USA has matches remaining with China, Serbia and Turkey and must finish in the top four teams in their group to move on to the medal round.
But Saturday was a great step in the right direction for the USA women volleyballers and the other USA women’s team sports that have gold medal dreams.