Friday, August 22, 2008

Opals Go For Gold, Spain Will Play For Gold and Dragons Look At New Import

Could Opal Erin Phillips have some teammates follow her lead if they win GOLD? (I really just wanted to use the picture.)

All Australians that are wondering if Penny Taylor will play in the Opals gold medal game against the USA will have to wait until 12.00am (Sunday) Aussie time.

Although the Opals got past the host nation China without Taylor's services, I feel she will have to make some type of appearance for the Opals to claim their first ever Olympic gold medal.

Playing arch rivals, the USA, the Aussies need to be at full strength and pack their "A" game to defeat the ultra deep US team.

When looking through the stats from the USA team the area that caught my eye the most is how the minutes have been shared pretty evenly.

Out of a possible 280 minutes any one player could have accumulated, Diana Taurasi leads the team with 145. All bar two players have played more than 100 with 64 being the lowest. They will be fresh and fired up to take on the Aussies.

As for the Aussies, they have leaned heavily on six players to play the bulk of the minutes with point guard Kristi Harrower logging the most at 208.

I hope that the emotion of this game will be enough to get the Aussie girls over the line but the stats show that the Yanks will have more petrol (gas) in the tank.

Players to Watch

For the Aussies you cannot go past Lauren Jackson. Look for the US to play her physical otherwise her skill level is so good she could single handily win the game for Australia.

Penny Taylor is one of the few international players that athletically can go with the Americans. This is why we need her in uniform. Her slashing ability and nose for the ball could be the difference in a game such as this.

Belinda Snell is coming off a 0/7 shooting performance from three against the Chinese. If she possesses a true shooters mentality she will be thinking 7/7 against the USA is what is going to happen. Snell needs to have an aggressive mindset at the offensive end. If she does, those shots will drop.

If Taylor is restricted in her playing time due to her ankle injury a real "X" factor could be Rohanee Cox. Cox like Taylor has the slashing ability to trouble the US team. If Cox can step up and help out Taylor, gold could be coming the Aussies way.

For the USA it used to be all about Lisa Leslie but I believe the emotional leader is Taurasi now. She is dangerous anytime the ball is in her hands. Known as a shooter Taurasi is more than that. Over the course of the Game she has proven her all round game helps her team win.

Leslie is still tough and needs to be respected. I look forward to her and Jackson "going at it" as they have for the past 6 years.

Tina Thompson has been a handful for opposition teams to handle at the offensive end. The power forward has been "stroking it" from long range too. 45% from long range will stretch the defensive and keep it open for their slashers. Thompson is their leading scorer at 13.5/game.

Sylvia Fowles has made the most of her Olympic Games experience. Leading the team in scoring (13.5) and rebounding (9) containing Fowles will be key for the Aussies slowing down the Red, White and Blue.

The Opals will need to contain the USA front court if they are to win this game but it is Opal Harrower that will need to control the tempo for the Aussies in their quest for Olympic Gold.

My prediction: Aussies by 13.

Hoops News

Spain advances to gold medal game. boxscore

Team USA wants revenge.

How serious is Andrew Bogut's ankle injury?

Freakonomics talks about citizenship flexibility.

It seems that Hummer will not be back as the major sponsor of the NBL. General Motors who is the parent company of Hummer are in the middle of a world review of all its divisions. So as of now, Hummer is in no position to enter into any type of sponsorship agreement with the NBL.

It is amazing what people will send to you when you have a blog. This piece of info (Hummer) was sent to me. If there is any validity to all this, the NBL better start looking for a new major sponsor. Maybe could be a potential sponsor!

Check out what Phoenix Suns players have been up to in the offseason and who is back in town. I just hope Steve Nash has been working on his free throws.

"He jumped off the plane and had a 'Barry Crocker', but games two and three were very good," South Dragons assistant coach Guy Molloy said about import Tremmell Darden. - courtesy of Herald Sun.

Darden is on trail to replace Ebi Ere who is trying to make the Memphis Grizzlies squad.

36ers looking to gel a little better after hitout with Tigers.

Kobe on his Olympic Experience


mookie said...

That is flat out the best photo of a female basketballer that I have ever seen!

John Rillie said...

I'm glad you approve.

Anonymous said...

you should find those black and white magazine shots of Laura Summerton, get them up on your next opals update.

Anonymous said...

Rillie. thats not erin phillips. thats a photo of greg vanderjagt