Washington Mystics center Stefanie Dolson will provide her take on the women’s basketball action in Rio. The 2015 All-Star can offer a unique perspective after participating in the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s National Team Minicamp and having played for U.S head coach Geno Auriemma at UConn.
Wow, Tina Charles, Brittney Griner, and Sylvia Fowles are all so talented and that was on display against China. Tina has become such a great all-around center, she’s worked on her face-up play and jump shot a lot in the past years and really grown as a player. Obviously she’s also so athletic when it comes to rebounding the ball. Really every part of her game has really improved and gotten much better.
Sylvia is so strong and knows exactly what she’s good at. She gets you deep in the paint to make sure that as a defensive player you can’t do anything. She finishes layups well and runs the floor easily which gives her open looks in transition.
I know Brittney is 6’8″ or 6’9″ but she makes post moves and turnaround jump shots that players her size aren’t making. They all do such a great job playing together and finding each other on the block to finish their plays. They are always fun to watch.
Everyone on the team may be great scorers, but they also know that the extra pass gets an open shot and I’m sure Coach Auriemma has them making those extra passes in practice. It’s all about making the right decision for the team at the right moment. Even though they all are scorers in their own right they also all have amazing abilities to move the ball and play well together so it was really fun to see that against China.
Obviously they had a big lead early, but nothing changes when you go into halftime up big. Coach Auriemma has always instilled in players that no matter what the score is you should play like it’s 0-0. When I played for him it didn’t matter what the lead was or how well or badly we were playing. I’m sure he told the girls to go out in the second half and play pressure defense and run the offense like they had been.
As the game goes on you just work on the little things. I saw they had a bunch of steals against China so it’s about not losing focus and making the game as difficult as they can for the other team. It’s also about learning from the mistakes that you make and using a game like today’s to correct them.
I don’t see any weaknesses for this team heading into the quarterfinals. I think the only thing that may hold them back is the fact they didn’t get that much time to play together heading into the Olympics so sometimes you can get a little stagnant playing offense. But, like in the last few games, you can always use your defense to spark that offense and that’s what this team does so well.
I think Coach is used to keeping a successful team focused and keeping their eyes on the goal. But, at the same time it’s probably easier for him because he’s coaching professionals. These are women who are older now and know how the game is played. They know to stay focused and not worry about the score and that’s why they’re professionals.
This team does not let distractions get in their way and makes Coach Auriemma’s job a little easier.
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