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BASKETBALL > US women’s dynasty goes for more victory

LONDON - Agence France-Presse

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Guard Diana Taurasi (R) is a key member of the US women’s basketball team. The team will try to defend its Olympic title when it takes on France in the final. AFP photo

Guard Diana Taurasi (R) is a key member of the US women’s basketball team. The team will try to defend its Olympic title when it takes on France in the final. AFP photo

For nearly three decades, US women’s basketball players have dominated global rivals in astonishing fashion, with the dynasty’s newest generation seeking gold on Aug. 11 against France in the Olympic final.

The Americans, a collection of stars from the Women’s NBA, take a 40-game Olympic win streak into the championship game as they seek a fifth consecutive title and seventh crown in eight Olympics against an unbeaten French side.

“I think we’re all just trying to not be part of the team that didn’t win the gold,” said US forward Candace Parker. “So we’re all just trying real hard and really playing.” The US women have not lost at the Olympics since dropping a 1992 Barcelona semi-final to the unified team of former Soviet players. In 40 wins since, the Americans have won by less than 10 points only once.

“It’s not something you think about daily,” US guard Sue Bird said of the win streak.

US women settled for silver in 1976 at the first Olympic women’s basketball event, losing to the Soviet Union in the final. But since a 1980 boycott of the Moscow Games, US women are 54-1 in Olympic play.
Even the US men’s NBA Dream Team has only won four of five gold medals starting with its 1992 debut.
And the US women’s world championships figures are almost as striking.

Starting with the 1986 worlds, the US women are 57-2 with fifth titles in seven tries, settling for bronze in 2006 with a semi-final loss to Russia and 1994 when they lost to Brazil.

The French have not given up on golden dreams, but admit it’s hard to enter the game expecting to topple the throne.
“That’s a bonus. Who cares?” said France’s Isabelle Yacoubou. “We have nothing to lose. We are in the Olympics. We can dream here. We want to have fun. That’s the most important thing.”

August/11/2012

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