Since the inception of the Women's NCAA Division I championship began in 1982, the University of Connecticut has won seven titles, six of those since the year 2000. Only the University of Tennessee has won more NCAA titles in women's basketball than the Huskies. This dominance on the court has attracted some of the nation's finest female players over the last decade, and it stands to reason that some of them would be chosen for Team USA.
The USA Olympic women's basketball team is coached by Geno Auriemma, who led the University of Connecticut to its NCAA titles. Former Huskies who played under Auriemma and are representing the USA in London this year make up half the Olympic team. They include Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones, Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, the youngest member of the team at age 23.
This UConn heavy team also includes two from perennial powerhouse Tennessee: Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings, who will be 33 years old before the opening day of the Olympic Games and is the oldest of the group. Rounding out the roster are the four remaining members, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Angel McCoughtry and Lindsay Whalen.
It's always interesting when a large number of players come from the same team. Although the UConn ladies were not all at the school at the same time, playing for the same program gives people a sense of family. Playing for the same coaching staff gives players an edge, even if they haven't played together before, because they learned a lot of the same skills in the same way.
The USA women's basketball team will be playing for their fifth straight gold medal in London. It will be the third for teammates Bird, Catchings and Taurasi if they are successful.
The NBA gets all the attention at home, but when it comes to the Olympics, few programs are as successful as Team USA women's basketball. These ladies play in the WNBA for a fraction of what their male counterparts get and an even smaller share of the glory. But they play for the love of the game. That is something fans should appreciate, especially in light of player strikes and greed which help to drive up ticket prices in the NBA.
More by Tavia:
Tavia Fuller Armstrong is an Oklahoma resident and a lifelong fan of the Olympic Games with old photos of commemorative childhood haircuts to prove it.