The U.S. women say they don’t care about the final score. They just want to have least one more point than their opponent at the end of games in the women’s Olympic basketball tournament.
That sounds like the right thing to say after Candace Parker had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Americans to a 90-38 rout of Angola on Monday night.
But the Americans aren’t just being politically correct.
They know they are still a work in progress, having only been together training for two weeks, and are going to play some tough games during the tournament.
The game against Angola was expected to be an easy romp – and it was – with the U.S. overwhelming the Olympic newcomer.
The Americans (2-0) have won their last 35 straight games in the Olympics and four consecutive gold medals while Angola is looking for its first victory. The team lost its opener to Turkey by 22 points meaning African nations have only won one of their 25 games in the Olympics since Congo – formerly known as Zaire – first qualified in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Nigeria owns the only victory, beating Korea by four points in 2004.
The Americans had played African teams twice and routed them both. The U.S. beat Zaire by 60 points in 1996 and then Mali by 56 at the Beijing Games in 2008.
Angola (0-2) did fare a little better than its continental neighbors. The team stayed close to the Americans for the first quarter, only trailing by 10 at the end of the period. Then the U.S. put the game away outscoring the African country 19-6 in the second period. Parker hit two nifty reverse lay-ins in the quarter.
The Americans continued the rout in the second half, extending the advantage to as many as XX points. The strong crowd which had witnessed some very competitive games all day, emptied out early in the final period knowing the outcome wasn’t in doubt.
Coach Geno Auriemma rested center Sylvia Fowles, who has a sore left foot. It didn’t matter as the 6-foot-4 Parker looked confident on the floor, demanding the ball in the post and running the floor for easy layups.
The game was a contrast for the U.S. from its opener when the Americans struggled on offense for the first three quarters before pulling away from Croatia.
Despite the lopsided final score, Auriemma has been impressed in the growth he’s seen in Angola and other African countries.
“Angola’s one of those countries you hope, because of what’s happened with the U.S. and some other places in women’s basketball, that other African countries pick up and say that could be us,” Auriemma said. “Hopefully that’s a country that becomes accustomed to playing in the Olympics. Hopefully they devote more energy and resources and they can come back to the Olympics on a regular basis.”
Next up for the U.S. is Turkey, which improved to 2-0 in pool play with a 61-57 victory over the Czech Republic. The Americans also will face China and the Czech Republic. The U.S. beat the Czechs in the finals of the 2010 world championship to qualify for the London Games.
Courtesy of www.mysanantonio.com