They're not exactly included in the same conversation as the men's "Dream Teams," but the women have dominated their side of the sport just as much as their male counterparts. They have won a medal in each of the nine tournaments, including gold in six of the last seven Olympics.
As the 2012 Games approach, the women's basketball team is among the biggest favorites to win gold of any team or athlete in the Olympics. They're an even bigger favorite than the men. A gold is certainly expected but can anyone stop them?
If it's not Australia, the only other team with a conceivable shot at gold — and it's not a very good one — is the Russian team. They've finished with the bronze in the last two Olympics and split a pair of friendlies with Australia earlier this year, which shows that they've closed the gap between third and second. They won the EuroBasket Women last year but they’re in the same boat as everyone else: they're short on the same type of frontline talent as the Americans and lack the back end depth.
The US team is absolutely loaded. Candace Parker, who is averaging 19 points per game in the WNBA, is going to be a big problem for any of her opponents. Sylvia Fowles, who leads the WNBA with 12.4 rebounds per game, is also going to be a beast inside.
In the backcourt, guard Lindsay Whalen is a reliable scorer and can probably reach 20 points in any game this season. On top of that, she's among the league leaders in assists and will get others involved. Diana Taurasi is a veteran and provides the sharpshooting while Angel McCoughtrey is going to be getting to the basket and earning free throw attempts.
Without question, the American women's team — just like the men — has the best starting five and also has the most depth of any team in the tournament. While the men might have a little bit of competition, the women really don't have much to be concerned about. If the women don't win gold, it would be one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history.