Although the U.S.A. men's basketball team is currently facing questions about whether or not they can rebound well enough to avoid losing on second chance points, the U.S. women do not figure to have that problem.
Though, as the WNBA commercials tell us, "basketball is basketball," there are different schools of thought as to how a team can best be built for victory. The men's team elected to go with athletic ability. They have the fastest team in the Olympics this year; and maybe the fastest of all time. They plan on switching often on defense, out-hustling their opponents, forcing turnovers, denying players the ball and destroying the opposition on the fast break.
The women can also force turnovers, but their defense is not based in that area. Instead the women attempt to contest shots and obliterate their opposition on the glass. So far in their exhibition games they have out-rebounded China by 18, Turkey by 19, and Croatia by 22. Due to the second-chance opportunities for the United States generated by these rebounds, as well as the opportunities that are denied to the other team, the United States women averaged almost 20 more shots per game in those three exhibitions. Those extra 20 shots are a big reason why the United States is not facing serious challenges from their exhibition opposition.
There has been one exception to this rebounding dominance so far in their exhibition schedule: Great Britain. In that game, the United States held only a +4 rebounding margin, leading to only a +4 shot advantage. But, proving they are not to be pigeon-holed into one kind of team, the Americans were still able to dominate the British by committing nine fewer turnovers, holding Britain to a 37.5% FG% and holding a commanding 23-7 FT advantage.
It's simple: the U.S. recipe for success is to physically dominate their opposition. When the shot goes up and the United States is on defense, they are very good at ensuring there will be no second chance opportunity. When the U.S. is on offense, they are equally talented at grabbing misses generating extra possessions. They dominated the 2008 Olympic Games by grabbing an average of 13 rebounds more than their opponents, generating about ten more shots per game. In 2012, it looks like they may put up even more impressive numbers. If they can, they will march virtually un-challenged to the gold medal. But even if they can't, the game against Great Britain shows that the U.S. could still fight their way to the top of the world's biggest stage.
- Sports & Recreation