Women’s Olympic Basketball: Australia and U.S. Lead the Pack

Outlook for the Field 

Women’s Olympic Basketball is currently in the preliminary rounds with twelve teams divided in to two separate groups. Group A includes Australia, Belarus, Brazil, France, Japan and Turkey. Group B includes Canada, China, Senegal, Serbia, Spain and the United States. Preliminary play started on August 6th and will continue until August 15th. From there, play will switch over to tournament-style play with eight teams advancing to the bracket.

Teams are awarded ranking points based on their performance. A game’s winning team receives two points, while each game’s losing team receives one point.

Australia currently sits at the top of the Group A standings with six points after beating Brazil, Turkey and France. The rest of the Group A standings are as follows: Japan and France with five points each, Belarus and Turkey with four points each and Brazil falls in last with three points.

Leading the Australian team are Elizabeth Cambage and Penny Taylor. Cambag is averaging 19.3 points and Taylor, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, is averaging 17.7 points, each in three starts for their team.

Canada and the United States are tied at the top of the Group B standings with four points each. Beneath these teams falls China and Spain with three points each, with Serbia and Senegal tied for last place with two points each.

 

Team USA Focus

 While Australia has the most points currently, the United States are likely to match them in points when they play their third game against Serbia. Not surprisingly, no team has looked nearly as dominant as Team USA. Team USA has scored more than a hundred points in both of their games and has won by 65 points over Senegal and 40 points over Spain.

Team USA has rolled out the same starting lineup for the two games they have already played. That lineup consists of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles. It may come as no surprise that perennial WNBA All-Star Taurasi is the team’s leading scorer, averaging fourteen points while playing twenty minutes per game. She is shooting well from outside, hitting 8-of-14 attempts from 3-point range.

Tina Charles has performed well as she contributes across the board and has totaled seven combined steals and blocks as the team’s leader in those combined stat categories. Maya Moore, on the other hand, seems to be coming up short on the scoring end. Moore is currently the fourth leading average scorer for the WNBA season with 19.4 points per game. However, she is only averaging 8.5 points per game in the Olympics, which brings her in at 8th on the team in scoring.

Moore has yet to hit an outside shot and is also not getting to the free throw line. It may be the coach’s game plan to feature other players, or Moore is simply not trying as hard in these earlier games. Whatever the issue, one would expect Moore to bounce back as tournament play gets going in a week’s time.

John Sill