With very little practice time together due to players’ hectic WNBA schedules, the USA Women’s National Team relies on their depth to overcome their lack of prep time with each other in the gym.
With 12 of the best players in the world, the US Olympic women can come at opponents in waves.
“We don’t get the time to prepare,” Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury, UConn) told usab.com. “We don’t get to practice for three weeks straight. We don’t get to go play these exhibition games, except for these [this week]. Our greatest strength is always our numbers. We’re going to start with five, and you’re going to put your next five in, and we’re going to put our next five in, and that’s going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of teams.”
Taurasi’s point was demonstrated in Wednesday’s 84-62 exhibition victory against France, when the US bench overwhelmed their French counterparts, scoring a whopping 29 points with 18 rebounds as a group, while producing a plus-40 efficiency rating.
One of USA’s biggest impact players off the bench against France was 6-6 center Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx, LSU), who had 7 points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting.
“There’s nobody that can handle Sylvia,” said USA coach Geno Auriemma. “Not just size-wise and height, but just how strong she is. And when she imposes herself in the lane at both ends – offensively, defensively – and she gets out on the perimeter and guards, she does great things that most people can’t handle.”
Fowles said she’s just playing her role and doing whatever it takes to win as a team and bring home that Rio Olympics gold medal.
“From one through 12, there can’t be any drop-off between us, and we just have to come out there and bring it every day,” said Fowles.
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