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.
France did what teams are trying to do against USA, which is kind of make it ugly and be aggressive. I think that’s what France did – realize they’re playing the US and play like they have nothing to lose. Shots were going in and they were playing well, and USA did a great job of reacting to that.
Being up only four points at halftime, USA coach Geno Auriemma’s speech could have gone a couple of different ways – he could have inspired them to go out and realize what game they’re in, trying to get to the gold medal game … or he could have been extremely upset and tried to get their butt in gear. France only scored eight points in the third quarter, so obviously the United States came out with extremely aggressive defense and wouldn’t let them get any easy baskets, winning the quarter 25-8 and never letting up.
Offensively, the United States missed Sue Bird, who is one of the best point guards in the world for a reason. The girls were still trying to get used to not having her out on the court, but they fought through it with a lot of poise and kept attacking. They didn’t let that setback bring them down.
This game will ultimately be beneficial to the United States for the gold medal game – the games in the tournament that have been close at halftime have taught them something new each time, and they’re learning something about themselves with each game. They know every team is going to give them their best because they’re USA basketball and they’re the team to beat, but it’s good to face some adversity before the gold medal game and it gives them confidence that they can withstand whatever is thrown their way.
Even if these women are the stars on their WNBA team, they know what’s at stake here. Egos definitely have to be put aside, they just have to play together in order to get that gold.
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