USA Women’s Basketball Team – Geno Auriemma Planning?

The American women have played two exhibition games as the prepare to go for gold in Rio.

Team USA have played two exhibition games in women’s basketball. First the national team defeated a select team of Americans 88-84 on July 25th. On Wednesday night the Americans posted a larger spread in beating Team France 84-62. An interesting trend to look at between the two games has to do with who saw their minutes decreased after the first game and, likewise, who saw their minutes increased.

In the close game against the USA Select Team Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, and Seimone Augustus were the only players that logged more than 20 minutes. In the game against France, Moore and Taurasi still logged over 20, however Augustus saw her play curbed down to 14:41.

For all the minutes that Augustus logged in the opening game, she did not have much production. She was just 1 for 7 from the floor, she had no assists, and she had no blocked shots. She did lead the National Team in rebounds, but otherwise her stat sheet was very flat.

In the 2nd game, both Sue Bird and Tina Charles saw their minutes increased significantly. Bird went from 18:25 to 29:36 while Charles went from 17:56 to 23:10. Charles was very effective offensively while Bird had 8 assists in the game.

Speaking before Team USA played any game, coach Geno Auriemma made the following statements:

“We really want to win the (exhibition games) but at the same time, we need to find out before we get on that plane to go to Rio, what we have. What can we count on? What’s going to be our strength?”

Based on the comments you have to wonder if the curbed minutes for Augustus should be taken to mean that she’s not emerging as a major piece in Auriemmo’s plan. Likewise Charles and Bird having their minutes increased seems to suggest that Auriemmo is looking at making them a big part of the games to come from Rio.

The USA will next play Canada on Friday in a game that will come from Connecticut. The Canadians don’t have much of a chance to compete in the game as they are nothing but peripheral contenders for gold in Rio.

Given how the minutes played and offensive production stats have both gone so far, expect big contributions from Moore, Charles, Taurasi, and Bird. After that look for Elena Delle Donne to emerge as a role player in a game that the Americans should win by 20+.

Shane Lambert