August 17, 2004 --
The U.S. Women's Basketball Team has the been the unrivaled best team in the world for
a decade, and will remain that way until they are beaten.
But this core group of women that makes up the United States Women's Olympic Basketball Team has not even been tested. Since 1992, the United States has won 19 straight games in Olympic competition. In the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, the U.S. has beaten opponents by an average of 25.2 points per game. The closest game was an 11-point win over Russia in the preliminary round in 2000. So far in the first two games of 2004 against New Zealand and the Czech Republic, the U.S. has increased that average, winning games by 52 and 19 points respectively.
Down the stretch of international games, the U.S. is usually so far ahead of its opponent that victory is rarely in doubt. But it could happen. And with potent teams like Australia, Russia and Brazil, it could even happen at these Games.
So with the best players in the world on one team, who would they want taking the final shot with a game
on the line? Perhaps one of the three-time Olympians? The best pure shooter? Or maybe the fearless
|Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
"Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi."
|Swin Cash, Detroit Shock
"Whoever will make the shot. I have confidence in everyone."
Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
"Myself, for one. Also Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and
Dawn Staley. Dawn is a legend and I look up to her. To win it all, I would
want Dawn shooting."
Shannon Johnson, San Antonio Silver Stars
"Lisa Leslie. She’s the one."
|Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
"I would say one of the veterans. Probably Sheryl Swoopes. She has
been there before and shot so many clutch shots that she knows what it takes.
Katie Smith is also a big-time shooter. We have some pretty good shooters
on this team. Diana Taurasi can knock down baskets, as can Sue Bird, Tamika
Catchings and Tina Thompson. I think I just named my entire team."
|Ruth Riley, Detroit
"We have some of the best players in the world, so it will all depend
on the game and who is playing well."
|Katie Smith, Minnesota
"Anybody. Anyone that takes the shot, I am confident they will make
Dawn Staley, Charlotte Sting
"Lisa Leslie, by far. She has proven that she can play at that level.
She is the best player in the world. I have played too many games with her
not to put the ball in her hands at the end of the game."
|Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
"Myself! No, we have so many great players on this team. Any player
on the team could have the ball and I will be confident. I would probably
put myself, Lisa, or Tina at the top of the list, but I don’t think any
of us are going to get it without Dawn handling it. That is why I am most
comfortable with Dawn making the play and getting it to one of us."
Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
"With this team, you really can’t go wrong. But Lisa, Tina and Sheryl
will probably be number one on Coach Chancellor’s list."
|Tina Thompson, Houston
"I think it depends on the situation. What team we are playing. If
we’re playing one of the Asian countries and they are a smaller team, you
definitely want to get the ball inside , preferably to Lisa, she’s a player
who has been in that situatioin so many times that going into her would
be a good thing. If we’re shooting a jumper I would definitely try to go
to Katie or Diana. If we had a little more time on the clock, Sheryl is
really good at using her quickness to get her own shot. One of the three
of those options would be great."