Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, August 11, 2008

Last April, the United States suffered a 3-point loss to China. But, four months later, when asked which teams she expected to give the U.S. a challenge in the Olympics, Sylvia Fowles mentioned Australia and Russia.
"And China?" a Chinese journalist asked.
Continued SI.com's Alexander Wolff:
On Monday night Fowles and the other three U.S. holdovers from the April event -- Kara Lawson, Lisa Leslie and Katie Smith -- took the very floor on which they had suffered that defeat and made good on the words of their 6-foot-5 defensive prodigy. Unlike the U.S. men, who had permitted China and its fans to hang around for 15 minutes, the women refused to extend to the hosts the same courtesy.

The headline of the NYTimes game article sums it up rather nicely: Sportsmanship in Mind, U.S. Women Win Easily. And, noted Wall Street Journal blogger (?!?!) Miguel Gonzalez Jr.,
Much was made of the progress shown by the Chinese men’s basketball team in its lopsided loss to the U.S. Sunday night. But the women’s side has a long way to go if it’s going to match up with the streamlined, professional style of the American team.

Led by 27 points from Tina Thompson the U.S. Women jumped on host country China (1-1) early and rode a 23-0 first quarter run to an easy 108-63 win. (And threw in some pre-game dunks for good measure.)

Everyone scored, everyone got some minutes, and the only concern was the being misled by the enthusiasm of the Chinese fans.

A thunderous roar ensued after a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 81-49.

"They cheered so hard that every now and then we had to check the score," said U.S. center Lisa Leslie. "We had to start recalculating. OK, we're still up by 30."

With Mali up next, not even the fear complacency seems to be a worry. Said Donovan:

We’re not showing everything so that does concern me a little bit. But, at the same time, we’ve been tested for two years. We were tested in the World Championships, we’ve been tested too many times and too many losses for all of these players. So, I don’t fear them losing their hunger or their focus with the lopsided wins which in the past, we have been concerned that as a staff.

In ’04, we were very concerned about that. This group is really hungry and they’re very knowledgeable. They’ve all been on teams that have lost games. In the past, our USA team has just won every tournament we went to. But, every one of our 12 players have lost in the last two years so I think that is going to keep us focused.

In the always a good read "Additional Quotes" section at USABasketball, some high praise for Big Syl from Diana:
She’s incredible really. We can talk about her physical attributes, we can talk about how amazing foot work she has, but more than anything she is a great person and I think that’s what’s going to make her one of the best centers to play in the United States and in the world. She’s willing to learn; she’s willing to take criticism and apply it to her game and a lot people that are as good as her don’t want to hear it, she’s open ears which is going to make her unstoppable.

The Miami Herald has more on Sylvia and her mom in China.

Arrittio Fowles, Sylvia's mother, rarely ventures far from Miami. She had never traveled abroad, so getting her to China was no small feat. First, there was the issue of the passport. She had lost her birth certificate, and the passport agency isn't forgiving about such things.

"She was about to give up, but I told her we had to keep trying because I really wanted her here," Fowles said. "She was a single mother who worked really hard to provide for us, and taught me to be humble and strong. She's not just my Mom, but my best friend. I was worried about her traveling all this way alone, though. I was sure she'd get lost and not make it through customs, but she did. I'm proud of her."