The U.S. women's basketball team may not have the cache or following as Kobe, LeBron and the American men, but they too enter London as prohibitive favorites to return with a gold medal -- they haven't lost in the Olympics for 20 years.
Currently ranked first in the FIBA world rankings, the women are led by Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi. Both helped restore head coach Geno Auriemma's former University of Connecticut star studded lineup and, not surprisingly, are perhaps the premier duo in the world.
Even so, Team USA -- not unlike the men -- will face a myriad of teams desperately wanting to knock it off its throne, and a few of them actually could. Let us take a further look.
The Aussies live and die by four-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson, a player that can score all over the floor and take over a game in a hurry. Team USA has a lot of depth, but none of its bigs possess the offensive repertoire of Jackson. But it doesn't end with her; 20-year-old Elizabeth Cambage stands at six feet eight inches tall and is coming off a WNBA All-Star campaign last season during her rookie year. One interesting note: Team USA has beaten Australia in the gold-medal game in three consecutive Olympics.
Tied with Australia for second in the FIBA world rankings, Russia is coming off two consecutive bronze medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. A highly physical unit, Russia -- who defeated the Americans in the 2006 World Championship -- is led by 2011 FIBA European Championship MVP Elena Danilochkina, an uber-versatile six-footer who can single-handedly win a game. Russia also features six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon, who is still one of the best guards in the world.
Both France and China have strong teams, but the Czech Republic is a sleeper pick in London. The world's fourth ranked team according to FIBA, the Czechs lost to Team USA in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Its best player is 32-year-old Hana Horáková, who was the MVP of that tournament. She can play on the block and out on the perimeter, creating a significant matchup concern.
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