Olympics Preview: USA Women’s Basketball Seeks Seventh Consecutive Gold Medal

Can they make it seven in a row?

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The United States women’s basketball team has taken home the gold medal in the last six Olympic Games.

They aren’t trying to break that streak, as Team USA heads to Tokyo seeking its seventh straight title.

There will be some differences this year, though. This time around, legendary UConn coach Geno Auriemma is handing the head-coaching reigns to Hall of Fame coach Dawn Staley of South Carolina. She’ll lead a balanced mix of veteran players like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi and exciting newcomers like MVP A’ja Wilson in international play.

The entirety of Team USA’s roster plays in the WNBA. It also includes Ariel Atkins, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Grey, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart. No matter who is coaching and who is out the floor, the expectations remain the same.

Despite being sent off to Tokyo with a loss at the hands of Team WNBA in the All-Star Game, anticipate Team USA will extend its Olympic win streak.

First, they just have to get through the other 11 teams in play.

SCHEDULE
Preliminary Round
Tuesday, Jul. 24 — United States vs. Nigeria at 12:40 a.m. ET
Friday, Jul. 30 — United States vs. Japan at 12:40 a.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 2 — United States vs. France at 12:40 a.m. ET

Quarterfinals
Tuesday, Aug. 3 – Wednesday, Aug. 4 — TBD

Semifinals
Friday, Aug. 6 — TBD

Finals
Saturday, Aug. 7 — TBD

LOCAL TIES
There aren’t any New England natives suiting up for Team USA, but plenty of players, as you may imagine, played their college careers at the University of Connecticut.

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
Tina Charles, New York Liberty
Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx
Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

TOUGHEST OPPONENTS
Australia — Las Vegas center Liz Cambage will sit out of the Games to focus on her mental health, but the roster still is stacked with WNBA talent like Ezi Magbegor, Rebecca Allen, and Alanna Smith. Ranked No. 2 in the world, they’ve won five medals at the Olympics — just not gold.

Serbia — After recently winning the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket title, defeating France in the final, Serbia makes its second appearance at the Olympics after winning bronze in Rio at the 2016 Games. They have the toughest group to get out of, with Spain and Canada, but veteran Sonja Vasic makes any team she’s on a threat.

Canada — The Unites States’ neighbors to the north are regulars at the Games with six Olympic veterans. They have a roster featuring WNBA players like Kia Nurse, Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton.


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