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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Limited prep time for U.S. Olympic team just "way it is"

All Sue Bird could do was shrug her shoulders when the subject of the limited preparation time that the U.S. squad gets before the Olympic games came up in a pre-game interview session at Mohegan Sun Arena earlier this month.

While gold medal candidate Australia continues its preparation by playing in the four-team tournament this weekend, look at the U.S. squad. Tonight was the final day of the WNBA season before the league breaks for more than a month for the Olympics. Tina Charles, Asjha Jones (although she did not play), Swin Cash and Sylvia Fowles were in Chicago for the Connecticut Sun/Chicago Sky game while Bird and Diana Taurasi were in Phoenix for the Seattle Storm/Phoenix Mercury although Taurasi was held out of action once again.

Barring any traveling issues, the 12 members of the U.S. squad will take the court at American University's Bender Arena on Saturday night for the first of two practices before scrimmaging Brazil's Olympic team at the Verizon Center on Monday at 5:3p p.m. in a game that can be seen on ESPN2.

In a perfect world the U.S. team would have been practicing together the last several weeks like pretty much every other team competing in the Olympics but that simply is not the way things are done in the U.S. Even if U.S. and UConn coach Geno Auriemma asked the U.S. players to skip the first part of the WNBA season as key Australian players Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage have done, he would not get his wish. So beginning tomorrow Auriemma and his staff will get down to business and make the best of the cards dealt them. The good news is the situation is no different than it was in 2004 and 2008 and the U.S. managed to win the gold medal both times.

"In '08 we all dealt with it, it was how it is was in '04 and we all dealt with it," Bird said. "It really is just the way it is. I don't really know any Olympic experience other than that."

The U.S. training camp will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday but Auriemma, assistant coach Doug Bruno and Olympians Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Candace Parker are scheduled to hold a clinic at the DC Armory tomorrow morning.

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