USA Women Open vs. Croatia

The Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics were held Friday in London and now it is time for the USA women's basketball team to get down to business. Coached by Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and featuring six former UConn players, the women's team opens play Saturday (11:45 a.m. EDT) against Croatia.

Opponent: Croatia, fifth place finisher at the 2011 European Championship, ranked No. 31 in FIBA women's world rankings.

Probable USA starters: Former UConn stars Sue Bird, Diana Aurasi and Tina Charles, along with Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker

Fast Fact: The U.S. women have not lost a game in the Olympics since the 1992 Games and are riding a 33-game winning streak that dates to the 1992 bonze medal game. The U.S. women won the gold medal in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. The U.S. women are 50-3 since women's basketball was added to the Olympics in 1976.

Scouting Report by Assistant Coach Doug Bruno of DePaul (courtesy USA Basketball):

Q: How much better do you expect Croatia to be here in London than they were in Turkey?

Bruno: First of all, Marija Vrsaljko is an exceptional post player that was getting married the day we played them last time, so they are going to have a much better post presence than they did last time. Also, the last time we played, while the score was a 50-point blowout, Croatia played much better in the second half. I think in the second half they really showed the capablilies they have as a basketball team. Andja Jelavic is a very, very talented lead guard, Sandra Mandir is a great scoring guard and Ana Lelas is also an exceptional three-spot player that has an exceptional intermediate game. So, this team has four different people that can really hurt you. Every game has a life of its own. We have to take the good, the bad and the ugly from our first game, even though it was a 50-point win, and we have to prepare for this game as if it's the only game we are going to play in this tournament. We expect them to be much better.

Breakfast with First Lady: Several dozen members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, including the women's basketball team, had the opportunity to meet First Lady Michelle Obama on the morning of Opening Ceremonies (July 27). She addressed the group and then posed for pictures, which the U.S. women happily took advantage of. "I really enjoyed this morning's experience," said Angel McCoughtry. "The First Lady, if you look at our pictures, she gave us all bug hugs like she knew us. For her to be so powerful and everything, it was so down to earth around her. Oh my gosh! It was the greatest feeling."

Quotable: "If you don't talk about the streak, if you don't dwell on it, if you don't harp on it, then it really doesn't exist except in the mind of other people. We've not talked about it one time. Not one time." – Auriemma

Up next for USA: Angola on July 30


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