Monday, August 4, 2008

Mon Aug 4: Less than FOUR DAYS Left! - UPDATED NEW!: Women's Basketball Preview

We're into the final few days before the Olympics. NBC's Matt Lauer, the Today Show Crew and even Bob Costas are already in Beijing and so are the athletes. Today we have a lot more previewing to do as we take our first look at the basketball competition and also release this week's LIVE BLOGGING schedule for the games.

Latest Sports News...
First, we take a look at this past weekend in sports, briefly.
  • So apparently, Brett Favre is actually back with Green Bay. I only have three words to say: Good for him. But apparently, the rest of America always has more to say and it has become the top sports story of the weekend. For the full story, click here to link to our favorite worldwide sports leader, ESPN.
  • Although Rafael Nadal didn't make the final of the Cincinnati Masters Final, he made it farther than Roger Federer. Thus we saw an official changing of the guard today when this week's ATP Tour rankings came out and Rafael Nadal was at the top of the list. It breaks a 236-week record that Federer held and sets up a huge potential showdown in the final of the Beijing Olympics Tennis tournament.
  • And in golf, Vijay Singh won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after missing three putts inside eight feet on the back nine in the final round yesterday, nearly throwing away the title.

It was a relatively calm weekend in sports but that will change very soon next week as the networks of NBC will present wall-to-wall coverage of the games. And NOW Sports will be sharing the viewing experience with all of you.

NOW Sports' LIVE BLOGGING Schedule (Week 1)
Remember that NOW Sports will be blogging throughout the Olympic Games with half-hour updates throughout each day (or rather, night) of the competition from 6PM EDT to 12PM EDT the next day (times subject to change). In addition, NOW Sports will have LIVE BLOGGING of several events throughout the week, including gymnastics events, swimming finals and soccer and basketball games. Below is a schedule of this week's LIVE BLOGGING of the competition 2008 Olympic Games. All times are in EDT

Wed Aug 6:
5:00AM - Women's Soccer: Germany vs. Brazil
7:30AM - Women's Soccer: USA vs. Norway

Thurs Aug 7:
5AM - Men's Soccer: Honduras vs. Italy
7AM - Men's Soccer: Ivory Coast vs. Argentina

Fri Aug 8:
7AM - Opening Ceremonies (updated every half-hour with full recap after)
10:30PM - Women's Shooting: 10m Air Rifle Shooting (First Gold Medal to be Awarded)

Sat Aug 9:
10:30AM - Women's Indoor Volleyball: USA vs. Japan
8PM - Swimming Gold Medal Finals
10:30PM - Tennis Preliminary Matches

Sun Aug 10:
8AM - Men's Basketball: Australia vs. China
8PM - Swimming Gold Medal Finals

Remember that the LIVE BLOGGING will be available on our alternate website: These times and events are subject to change and we may add more events like diving or gymnastics if possible. Don't forget that this is IN ADDITION to the continuous live half-hour updates that NOW Sports will be giving throughout the night and into the next morning, starting at 7AM on Friday morning with the opening ceremonies. Competition updates will begin at 6PM EDT later that day when Day 1 of competition begins.

Check back here and for the latest updates throughout the games.
Women's Olympic Basketball Preview
It's the only sport that we have yet to cover, but basketball is sure to provide some thrilling action at this year's Olympic Games. The United States women's basketball team is a favorite yet again after winning five of the last six Olympic tournaments. But the competition is expected to be a lot more tougher in Beijing as the rest of the world may have finally caught up with Team USA.
At the 2006 FIBA World Championships for Women held in Brazil, the United States lost to Russia in the semifinal round, 75-68. Though the Americans progressed through the tournament relatively easily, Russia provided the biggest challenge to the United States, a team that lacked three of its biggest players: Dawn Stanley, Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards. Australia eventually won the gold medal over Russia, establishing the Aussies as a power in women's basketball.
Lisa Leslie is back with Team USA for this year's Olympic Games along with five other members who were part of the gold medal winning team in Athens (Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker and Tina Thompson). Though the United States presents a deep team with a lot of experience and talent, the Russians and Australians have improved since the last Olympics as well.
For the past week leading up to the games, the United States played exhibition matches against their biggest rivals, earning hard-fought wins over both Russia and Australia. On Tuesday night in China, the United States defeated Australia by a score of 71-67. This close victory followed a relatively easy 93-58 win over the Russians, and Becky Hammon, when three different American players scored in double digits. Hammon, a South Dakota native, competes for CSKA Moscow club team and became naturalized in Russia.
Though the United States was able to defeat Australia, the Americans showed that they are still a raw team that hasn't had much experience playing with each other. As opposed to the Australians who have been playing together for awhile, the United States women's basketball team has only been together for a week and had trouble finding their comfort zone in the opening game of the pre-Olympic tournament against Latvia.
The United States is expected to progress to the quarterfinals easily with Australia and Russia placed in the other group. In preliminary play, the biggest threat to the United States could be home nation China and Spain, the Eurobasket finalist last year that fell to Russia in the championship game. China defeated the United States last year in the final of the "Good Luck Beijing" tournament, 84-81.
But it's anybody's game in the knockout round of the competition and the gold medal will be decided by which team has the best chemistry playing with each other and also has the most experience. And while the U.S. has the most experience overall, they may find it a bit challenging to keep up with the current talent of the other teams.

1 comment:

CP said...

good for favre, bad for everyone else, including poor aaron rodgers. i felt like writing him a letter telling him to keep his head up

looks like youre busy in olympic coverage for the time being, but id like to know what your take is on ultimate frisbee, now that youre a sports journalism big shot. you should write a post on it sometime, this week is the world championships, it only comes along once every 4 years.

blog's looking good so far.

(by the way, this is james)

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