Cash and Fowles claim their second Olympic gold medals in London
For the second time in their storied careers, Sky players Swin Cash and Sylvia Fowles struck gold during the Olympics. For Cash, its her first since 2004 when Team USA methodically picked apart their opponents en route to winning it all in Athens.
Fowles represented Team USA in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics in what most people call the greatest womens basketball team ever put together.
This years team might have surpassed both of their predecessors as they coasted to an easy victory in all eight contests, extending Team USAs winning streak to an impressive 41 games.
Heres a look back at all eight games in London.
Saturday, July 28
USA 81, Croatia 56
Despite early jitters to tip off the 2012 London Olympics, Team USA easily disposed of Croatia by 25. Despite being held to only four points in the first quarter, the Croatians hung around all game and trailed by three at the half, 31-28, and six at entering the final quarter, 53-47.
The fourth quarter belonged to Team USA, and more specifically the bench, as they reeled off 16 straight points to pull away from their opponents. The strength and size of Team USA was the difference maker as they outrebounded Croatia 57-32 and scored 46 points in the paint.
Connecticut Suns Tina Charles led Team USA with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Cash scored three points while Fowles chipped in with two points and three rebounds in ten minutes of action.
Its one of those things where we feel like were the deepest team in this tournament. We have the ability to really stretch the floor and get some pressure full court, Cash continued on the play of the bench. Thats our game. We have a very athletic team, a very versatile team and we try to utilize all of our strengths.
Monday, July 30
USA 90, Angola 38
As the great Charles Barkley said during the 1992 Dream Team days, I dont know anything about Angola, but Angola is in trouble.
The same could be said for Angola in 2012. In a game that turned out to be a laugher, Team USA showed the world exactly why they were picked to capture gold by the experts. The smothering American defense gave the Angolans trouble all night as the team was 13-66 (19.7%) from the field for the game.
Team USA held their opponents to six points in the second quarter and led 41-18 at the half. The lead would balloon to 40 heading into the final period and Team USA dominated their way to a 52-point victory, 90-38.
Los Angeles Sparks center Candace Parker led the team with 14 points, 12 rebounds and an Olympic record four blocks while Cash chipped in with eight points, a rebound, block and steal in 14 minutes of action. Fowles did not play due to a sore foot.
Wednesday, August 1
USA 89, Turkey 58
In a battle of unbeatens, Team USA relied on their stifling defense to hold Turkey to 31.9% shooting from the field. The eight rejections by Team USA set a U.S.A. Olympic womens team single-game record.
Leading by only three after one quarter, Team USA turned up the intensity as they outscored Turkey 22-10 in the second to lead by fifteen, 41-26, at the half. Turkey would not go away however as they cut the lead to five, 50-45, midway through the third quarter before the Americans reeled off ten unanswered points to put the game away. Team USA outscored Turkey 26-11 in the final quarter to easily dispose of previously unbeaten Turkey, 89-58.
Atlanta Dream superstar Angel McCoughtry scored a game-high 18 points, including an Olympic-record ten made free throws. In limited action, Cash registered two points and pulled down a rebound. For the second straight contest, Fowles sat out.
On Thursday, August 2, during her off-day, Cash teamed up with NBA All-Star Baron Davis for a humorous American basketball debate. Click here to see the classic mens vs. womens basketball debate.
Friday, August 3
USA 88, Czech Republic 61
The Czech Republic stormed out of the gates and scored the first ten points of the contest before Team USA finally got on the board. For the first time in the Olympics, Team USA would trail after the first quarter, 28-26.
The defensive pressure by Team USA would be amped up in the second quarter as they outscored the Czechs 24-12 in the second quarter to take a 48-38 lead into the half. In a game that proved to be a tale of two halves, Team USA dominated the second half as they held Czech Republic to nine points in the third quarter and convincingly won 88-61. The dominance in the paint propelled Team USA to victory as they owned a 62-39 rebounding advantage.
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi scored a game-high 18 points while Charles chipped in with a 16 point, 15 rebound performance. Cash pulled down a rebound in nine minutes of action while Fowles sat out for the third consecutive game for precautionary measures.
Sunday, August 5
USA 114, China 66
Team USA regained its swagger against a good Chinese team as they tied the U.S. Olympic womens single-game record with 114 points, while setting the U.S. Olympic for most assists in a game with 33.
Trailing by three, 31-28, after one quarter of play, China looked like a formidable opponent for Team USA. They didnt look like that the other three quarters of the game as China was outscored 83-38 the rest of the way, including 30-8 in the second quarter.
Fowles was back in action and began the Team USA run with a swat to start the second quarter. The 52 made field goals by Team USA were also an Olympic record for the U.S. as they shot a jaw-dropping 62.7% from the field.
Taurasi led all scorers for the second straight game as she poured in 22 points, while McCoughtry was a perfect 8-8 from the field for 16 points to go along with her six rebounds, six assists and five steals. Cash had four points, two rebounds and a block in ten minutes of floor time. Fowles was impressive in her first game back as she scored six points, reeled in three rebounds and registered two blocks for the game.
I was excited to get going. Everything felt good and Im just happy about the way we took it, we didnt rush back. So it felt good and Im ready to play more minutes, Fowles said regarding her return to the court.
After soundly defeating China by 48, Team USA finished pool play 5-0 and was the top seed in Pool A.
Tuesday, August 7
USA 91, Canada 48
Team USAs suffocating defense led them past Canada. Canada shot an abysmal 30.2% from the field and turned the ball over 22 times. Canada scored only eight points in the first quarter and saw themselves attempting to climb out of a 42-21 deficit at the half.
Team USA put any Canadian thoughts of a comeback to rest as they outscored their opponents 26-10 in the third quarter to take a 68-31 lead into the final period. The team shot 47.3% from the floor while outrebounding their opponents by sixteen, 45-29.
For the third consecutive game, Taurasi led all scorers with 15 points. Cash had three points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the game while Fowles was back in form with 12 points and four rebounds in eight minutes of action.
Its really important to have her back. If you look at whats possibly down the road for us in match-ups, its great to have Syl back, because shes a big presence, a big body inside, Cash said. Her ability to command double teams opens things up for our shooters as well. With a versatile team like ours, were going to need all hands on deck.
With the win, Team USA extending its Olympic win streak to 39 games and advanced to the semifinals to take on Australia.
Thursday, August 9
USA 86, Australia 73
If there was ever a moment when Team USAs win streak and goal of going for gold was in jeopardy, it was during this game. Led by Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage, Australia answered every USA bucket with one of their own as they controlled the first half and led by four, 47-43, at the break.
Refusing to give up, Team USA battled back and suffocated Jackson and Cambage in the second half and outscored the Australians 22-12 in the third quarter to pull away and guarantee themselves a spot in the gold medal game against France.
Charles and Taurasi led the team with 14 points a piece while Cambage and Jackson led Australia with 19 and 14 points, respectively. Fowles chipped in with four points and two rebounds for Team USA and Cash did not play.
Gold Medal Game
Saturday, August 11
USA 86, France 50
In a battle of unbeatens, France proved to be no match for the high octane offense of Team USA. All twelve players on the gold medal winning U.S. squad scored en route to a historic fifth straight gold medal for Team USA.
Team USA ended the first and second quarters on a 9-2 run to help distance themselves from France and take a 12-point lead into the half, 37-25. Midway through the third quarter, Taurasi ignited a 19-0 run with two straight buckets to pull ahead 62-32 as the American defense suffocated the French and didnt allow them to score over an eight-minute period.
Illinois-native Parker led all players with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Fowles had a productive night with six points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. In five minutes of action, Cash scored three points, pulled down a rebound and dished out an assist.
In the 2012 London Olympics, Team USA averaged 90.6 points per game while holding their opponents to 56.3 points per game.