Mystics GM Linda Hargrove drops in with a new report from Brazil
Just thought I would check in and let you know how our favorites, DeLisha and Alana, are doing here in Brazil and let you know what I have been up to.
My Wednesday started with a car wreck. Trudy Lacey of the Charlotte Sting, B.J.of USA Basketball, and I had ordered a taxi to take us into Sao Paulo to watch games at Ibirapuera. This trip usually takes about an hour and as we were leaving the hotel our driver ran into another car. Cars are not well made here as the whole front of the car fell off. We just jumped out of the car, like this is something that happens every day, ordered another taxi and headed into the city.
I was able to see Spain, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Canada and Lithuania. It seems that Lithuania had to forfeit their first game against Australia when their plane was sent back to Lithuania. (It seems that they didn't have the right vaccinations). They played very well against Spain and definitely looked like a team we should pay attention to. Brazil looked very good against South Korea but lost a 1 point game last night to Spain. Former George Washington standout, Elisa Aquilar, really helped Spain pull out this important victory. While Canada wasn't competitive at all against Lithuania, I watched them last night against Australia and they played a great first half only to end up losing by nearly 20 points. Tammy Sutton-Brown, Lauren Jackson and Kristi Harrower all looked good for their respective teams. I still haven't seen Aya Traore play as Senegal has played at the same time as team USA the past three nights. I know that although Aya has done very well for her team, they have yet to win a game.
Team USA had little trouble with Nigeria and the Mystic players played very well. Anne played the vets, Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes, Tamika Catchings, Tina Thompson and Delisha together for a stretch and they looked really confident. DeLisha held her own defending a much taller Steponova last night and the play of Bird, Taurasi, Parker and Alana has left us with the feeling that our national team program is in good hands. Simone Augustus, Cheryl Ford and Michelle Snow have all made major contributions when they get the opportunity. There is a nice mix of vets and young players in this group and they really seem to work hard for each other.
Coming in to the tournament I thought that Russia, Australia and Brazil would be our main competition. Cuba, France and Lithuania may be competitive but I really feel that we outmatch all the teams here. That doesn't mean that we will breeze through the rest of the tournament but when we are playing tough defense and hitting our shots I don't think we will get beat. This team will continue to improve as the tournament progresses and they play together more.
Some of the players left a little while ago to do a pool workout and the others are enjoying a much needed day off to rest and regroup for the 2nd round. Playing three days in a row is really tough on them physically after going through a grueling WNBA season and training camp prior to the World Championships.
I'll try to update one more time before I head back to the states. Richie will be coming to Brazil to watch the medal round and support our wonderful Mystics, Alana and DeLisha.