Familiar Foe for Team USA

It's getting down to crunch time for the USA women's basketball team, led by coach Geno Auriemma and six former Connecticut players. USA (3-0) has two more games remaining in Olympic pool play, today against Czech Republic and Sunday against China.

Quarterfinals begin Tuesday. Here's a look at today's matchup.

Opponent: Czech Republic (1-2), which qualified for the Olympics at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Probable USA starters: Former UConn stars Sue Bird (5.7 ppg), Diana Taurasi (7.0) and Tina Charles (12.0), along with Tamika Catchings (5.7) and Candace Parker (9.0).

Fast Fact: These teams last met in the gold medal game at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, which the USA won 89-69. The U.S. opened the second half on a 15-2 run to take control of the game. Four U.S. players scored in double digits, led by a game-high 18 points from Angel McCoughtry . In winning the gold medal in front of a boisterous Czech crowd, the U.S. became the first team to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. The U.S. and Czech Republic also met in the 2008 Olympics, with the USA winning 97-57 in The Opening game of preliminary play. Diana Taurasi led with 17 points.

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

"Their guard play with Katarina Elhotova and Hana Horakova is very, very good. When they come at you, they really can be good. It was a great win for them against Croatia. Sitting at 0-2, they weren't expected to win. They are fighting to stay in medal contention, so it's going to be a tough ball game. We didn't beat them easily in the Czech Republic.

"They are a very similar team to what they were two years ago. I think they have been in a little bit of a rut going 0-2 to start their Olympic play, and they are trying to fight their way out of it. It's very important that we handle their guards.

"It's getting to be about us now. Because we are together such a short amount of time, this is a growth process. Now, we are at the point where we have to get a lot better fast. The two steps forward, one step back stuff needs to stop, and we need to play with more consistency from beginning to end.

London Calling

Former UConn standout Tina Charles has family in London and she's been spending her down time the past few days catching up with them. "I have a lot of family here who lives in London," she said. "I'm just hanging out with my family most of the time. On my mother's side, my grandmother's brothers and sisters live here, so then they had kids and they had kids."

Up next for USA: vs. China, Aug. 5, 11:45 a.m. EDT, NBC Basketball.

Material from USA Basketball included in this report.


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