USA Basketball is dominating the Olympic stage after winning their first matches over the weekend.
On this Monday, you’ll have a chance to watch both teams play today in their second matches in group play.
USA Basketball Women’s National Team vs. Spain this morning
The women’s team plays later this morning at 11 a.m. ET against Spain. The Spanish are ranked 3rd in the World and won 65-59 against a tough Serbia team. You can watch this on NBC Sports Network or stream it on NBCOlympics.com.
What happened on Sunday vs. Senegal?
The women doubled up Senegal, 121-56. Diana Taurasi was hot early, and drained four three pointers in the early minutes of the first quarter and made another three in the second half to give her 15 point total.
Sylvia Fowles and Breanna Stewart also scored 15 points each, and four more players scored in double figures. Six of those players did so by playing less than 20 minutes in the game. Fatou Dieng led Senegal with 10 points.
If you thought that doubling up a team in the score was big-time, Team USA was TRIPLING UP Senegal to start the first half, as they started the third quarter 64-21.
At the end of the day, Team USA’s 64.8 percent shooting, 4 to 1 assist turnover ratio (36!!!! assists to 9 turnovers) and forcing Senegal to commit 27 turnovers themselves were ingredients for what was a good, ol’ fashioned beatdown.
Any WNBA players on Spain?
No active players, mainly because the team has been practicing together this spring for this tournament ... and a chance to shock the world by beating Team USA.
That said, there are players who played in the WNBA last year. Anna Cruz played for the Lynx last year. Astou Ndour (who was born in Senegal but has Spanish citizenship) was on the Stars last year. And though she isn’t in the WNBA yet, Florida State guard Leticia Romero is also on the team.
There are also some EuroLeague stars on this team who haven’t played stateside. UMMC shooting guard Alba Torrens is a two-time European player of the year in 2011 and 2014.
What to expect?
The Spanish have many players who are on top EuroLeague teams, whether it’s the defending EuroLeague Champions, UMMC Ekaterinburg where Taurasi and Brittney Griner play or USK Praha, who won the title in 2015 with Mystics center Kia Vaughn as their centerpiece.
But the bottom line is that Team USA’s stars play for top EuroLeague teams too during the NBA season. They know how ball’s played there and how European players play on “their home turf” if you will. Don’t expect Team USA to beat Spain 120-60, but I still fully expect a blowout in the 90-70 range nevertheless.
USA Basketball Men’s National Team vs. Venezuela this evening
The USA Basketball men’s national team is back in action on Monday night as they face Venezuela. As you may recall, the Americans played the Venezuelans in a friendly before the Olympics began on July 29. They won handily 80-45 in a game where Brooklyn Nets (and former Maryland star) Greivis Vasquez opted out at the last minute.
What happened last Saturday against China?
The men’s team crushed China, 119-62. Until I saw Sunday’s women’s match, this was the butt whooping of the weekend.
Kevin Durant led Team USA with 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting in just 22 minutes of action. Durant also grabbed four rebounds and dished 6 assists in the win. He is more or less filling in LeBron James’ role on Team USA during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics when he played in a point forward role.
It’s a little early to say that this is how the Warriors will use Durant this season — which they should — but I didn’t exactly expect to see him facilitating as much as he did in the Olympics.
DeMarcus Cousins also had an excellent game with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Before you say that Boogie was not crashing the boards, he played only 15 minutes. On a team like this, no one is going to be playing 30-plus minutes like most other teams on this stage.
For the Chinese, former Wizards player Yi Jianlian scored 25 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 30 minutes. He had a decent shooting performance, going 8 of 19 from the field.
The stats that stuck out to me was the rebounding (52 to 29), free throw attempts (USA had 45, China had 24), and the turnover differences (USA had 9 turnovers, China had 24). When things like this happen, no wonder why the Americans won by 57 points.
Are there things that the men’s national team needs to clean up?
Not really. I could point to DeMar DeRozan’s three turnovers or Klay Thompson’s 1 of 6 shooting performance, but I wouldn’t be too worried about that right now. Carmelo Anthony may be the leader of the team given his years of experience, but Durant is the “franchise player” so to speak on a superstar-loaded team, and the offense was flowing quite nicely.
What to expect?
Venezuela has practically no chance of beating Team USA since they’re one of the weaker teams in the pool. They lost 86-62 last Saturday to Serbia, who is one of the better teams in Europe.
Expect a 30 point win. At least.
Other Men’s Basketball Games
For all of you international basketball junkies, here’s what’s on the schedule. Everything can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com or on a traditional TV via the Basketball Channel if you live in the US.
All men’s games are within Group A:
- Serbia vs. Australia, 1:15 p.m. ET - This should be a fun match to watch between two Top-10 caliber teams. Australia is 11th, but the Boomers should catapult into the Top-10 over Greece if they can make it to the quarterfinals — which they should.
- France vs. China - 9:30 p.m. ET - I don’t think China and their young squad have much of a shot against the French either. Five French players play in the NBA including Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum. In #SoWizards fashion, Ian Mahinmi is not on the team.
Other Women’s Basketball Games
Same deal as the men’s basketball teams with your watching options.
- Brazil vs. Japan, 4:30 p.m. ET - The hometown team has some players with WNBA experience like Erika de Souza, Clarissa Santos, and Iziane Castro-Marques, who played for the Mystics for part of the 2012 season. The men’s team (ALMOST) pulled off a huge upset over Lithuania on Sunday — and I was rooting HARD for Nene — but the women should beat Japan who’s just 16th. They did upset Belarus over the weekend and are led by Storm center Ramu Tokashiki so ... maybe this game will be closer than I anticipate.
- Canada vs. Serbia, 1:15 p.m. ET - The Serbians may be underdogs because they’re 14th, but they won the 2015 EuroBasket tournament and made some upsets in the 2014 World Cup. Their star triumvirate of the Dabovic sisters (Milica, who is the point guard and Ana, who is on the Sparks) plus power forward Jelena Milovanovic (who was on the 2014 Mystics team) is as strong as any within FIBA Europe. I’m going with the Serbs in this game.
- Senegal vs. China, 6:45 p.m. ET - I expect the Chinese to win comfortably in this game, considering how badly the Senegalese got beaten down by Team USA on Sunday. China will get their whooping — it’s gonna happen — but I don’t expect them to lose by 60.... (Hoping Geno Auriemma doesn’t write down that as bulletin board material for Team USA. Or am I?)
Enjoy the basketball everyone.