Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympics Links and More

Hard to believe, but we're seven and a half hours away from the start of women's basketball in the 2008 Olympics. Australia tips things off against Belarus at 6:00 p.m. Pacific, a game that should theoretically be available in the U.S. via Webcast on You might be able to watch on NBC's special basketball channel, but the Sports Northwest Magazine blog reported earlier this week that Comcast will not carry the channel locally.

The USA plays its first game against the Czech Republic tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. with coverage on the USA Network, but what's not clear is whether that coverage will be live or not. On a Saturday morning, TiVo sounds like the way to go.

Alright, how about some links. First off, I hope you've been following as it covers the Olympics from all angles. My favorite so far has been a joint interview with Storm star Lauren Jackson and former Storm guard Tully Bevilaqua, the two active WNBA players on the Australian Defence Force Opals.

Adam Hirshfield got some help from NBC analyst and two-time gold medalist Teresa Edwards in breaking down all the competition in Beijing.

There's also a nice photo gallery from Thursday's U.S. practice. Meanwhile, USA Basketball offers quotes from Thursday's media availability and a scouting report of the Czech Republic.

Q over at Rethinking Basketball offers his take on the U.S. Olympic Team, including an analysis of how the team is doing in terms of building on-court chemistry on the fly.

I'm of the opinion that the talk by the Aussies of physical U.S. play in the finale of the Diamond Ball Tournament has been blown way out of proportion by a media eager for any hint of scandal, but if you're into that sort of thing I'd say The Australian - complete with a "Trash Talk" graphic featuring LJ and Lisa Leslie - is the most dramatic example.

As for Storm center Kelly Santos, here's a loose translation of an AP story on Brazil and its opening game against South Korea.

"I'm going to contribute with my experience because this is a very young team," Santos said (roughly). "We have to continue working hard and I believe that we can advance to the quarterfinals."

Lastly, a little WNBA news that affects the Storm and the Western Conference playoff race. Sacramento forward Rebekkah Brunson, who had been playing with torn cartilage, had surgery on her right knee Wednesday. If Brunson is able to get back in the minimum four-week timeframe, she would miss two games, which still could make it slightly more difficult for the Monarchs as they battle for one of the last two playoff spots in the West. At worst, Brunson could miss the remainder of the regular season. Though unheralded Crystal Kelly should be able to step up, Sacramento's depth up front will take a hit in Brunson's absence. There is an outside chance DeMya Walker could return to the lineup after the break.

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