Sunday, September 30, 2007

Beijing Here We Come! Team USA guaranteed themselves an opportunity to defend their 2004 Olympic Gold Medal by defeating Cuba today to win the FIBA Americas Championship.

The USA opened the game with a 16-0 run. That pretty much tells the story. With an Olympic berth on the line, the USA displayed intensity, teamwork and superior skill, and Cuba never had a chance. The final score was 101-71. Games that lopsided typically aren't much fun to watch, but this was different, because it was our national team playing for something that really mattered. It was great to see them play so well in such an important contest. Congratulations to the entire USA team and coaching staff!! Good luck in Beijing!

The next time we see the USA National Team, it will be at Comcast Center on Halloween as they tip off their 8-game college tour with a match against the Terps. To say that the BasketCases are excited about seeing that game would be an understatement. Just to be clear, though, and while we are as patriotic as any American, we'll be rooting for the women in red (not the red, white and blue)! Go Terps!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

USA Tangos With Tackles Argentina.

Team USA danced the Argentinians right off the court this afternoon, 104-53, controlling the game from the tip-off to the final buzzer, in the first semifinal match of the FIBA Americas Championship. The USA now advances to the gold medal game on Sunday at 4pm EDT (live on NBAtv), taking on the winner of tonight's other semifinal game (NBAtv, 8 PM) between Brazil and Cuba.

Whoever wins gold tomorrow will also secure a berth in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The loser (and the two other semifinalists) will have one last chance to make the Olympics through a qualifying tournament next June.

No pressure!!

Go U-S-A!
* * * * * * * *
Sunday Night Update: In an exciting game that came down to the final seconds, Cuba upset Brazil this evening, 69-67, setting up a re-match with the USA tomorrow for the gold medal. Team USA handed Cuba its only loss of the tournament, 85-79, during first round play on Wednesday. While some observers were surprised at how close that initial game was, Cuba has gone on to prove that they are a formidable opponent.

Team USA Steamrolled over Canada yesterday afternoon, 85-37, finishing preliminary round play in the FIBA Americas Championship undefeated. Despite the score, you shouldn't feel too bad for our northern neighbors. Yesterday, the U.S. dollar was worth only 99.28 Canadian cents at the end of trading. Ouch!! (Can't you just hear those Canadian players laughing all the way to the Wal-Mart?!)

The USA's win sets up a date with Team Argentina today at 4:30pm EDT (live, NBAtv) in the semi-final round of the tourney. [Note: this is a change from the previously announced 8pm game time.] If the USA wins today, they will be playing for the gold tomorrow (yes, 5 games in 5 days -- they don't mess around at FIBA!) and, more important, for an automatic berth in the Olympics next summer.

Alana Update. Meanwhile, for those who have been wondering why Alana Beard is not in Chile with the National Team, it's because she had surgery Thursday on her left shoulder. As Mystics fans know, AB played hurt all season. In fact, it was somewhat of a miracle that she was able to play this summer at all; she's a true warrior. The BasketCases wish Alana a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her at full strength in 2008!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Next Up: USA vs Canada.

The USA National Team had no trouble with Jamaica in yesterday's early afternoon contest. The Americans scored early and often, and cruised to a 115-47 victory. Everybody played; everybody scored. Except for a missed dunk attempt by Candace Parker, everything went right for Team USA.

Today our national team faces our northern neighbor, Canada, in the final game of the FIBA Americas preliminary round (NBAtv, 4 PM). Maryland fans may remember Kim Smith from Utah (isn't that where new Ass't Coach Daron Park coached last season? You Betcha!) from the nail-biting 2006 Regional final. Other than Kim, there aren't many other recognizable names on this tourney's Canadian roster. A couple of better known players from the WNBA, Tammy Sutton Brown and Stacey Dales, are noticeably absent. Canada is 1-1 in the tourney, having beaten Jamaica but lost to Cuba.

If the USA wins today's game, they will play their 4th game in 4 days tomorrow in the semi-final round (Saturday, NBAtv, 8 PM).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

You Win Some, You Lose Some.

Yesterday afternoon, the USA Basketball National Team did their best to make their first game in the FIBA Americas tournament exciting for their fans. Everybody knows that blow-outs are not all that much fun to watch, so Team USA kept it close against Cuba . . . even trailing their opponent well into the fourth quarter. However a couple of critical 3-pointers by veteran Olympian Katie Smith sparked a USA run that allowed the USAers to escape with the win, 85-79.

After traveling 28 hours (by way of Jupiter?) to arrive in Valdivia, Chile and only a couple of practices, and then having to face an experienced Cuban national team that's been together for quite some time, the USA's slow start was, perhaps, not as unexpected as one might think. Hopefully, yesterday's narrow escape will help the team to settle down, focus and take care of business when they face their second opponent of the tourney, Jamaica, in a late-lunch event today (NBAtv, 1:30 PM).

Meanwhile, the USA Soccer National Team was not so lucky, as they fell to Brazil in their World Cup semi-final this morning. It's never a good omen when your opponent's first goal is scored by a player on your own team (don't you just hate when that happens?) and, unfortunately, that's how today's contest started. Then, before half-time, the incredible Marta (who actually plays for Brazil), notched her first goal of the match, sending the USA team into the locker room down 2-0. In basketball terms, that's kind of like being down by 15 or more at the half-way mark. Not good. And there were no miraculous comebacks on today's schedule for the Americans. In the second half, Brazil added to its lead and advanced to the World Cup final against Germany, beating the USA by a final score of 4-0.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Then I will Have Two Babies Fillings

Double Click the Arrow in the Center and Enjoy!

In honor of the USA National Soccer Team's HUGE upcoming semifinal match vs Brazil in the Women's World Cup (Thursday, ESPN2, 8 AM), we thought we would share one of our All-Time Favorite TV Commericals. (For those who aren't already familiar with it, Nike ran it during the 1999 Women's World Cup -- hosted and won by the Americans!) GO U-S-A!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

High Stakes Poker Basketball. On September 26, the USA Senior National Team will begin play in the FIBA Americas Championship being held in Valdivia, Chile. To say that a great deal is at stake for Team USA in this tourney would be an understatement. Having failed to win the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Team USA now has to qualify for a berth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing next summer. That's right, by coming up short last September in Brazil, Team USA now has to earn the right to defend its 2004 Olympic Gold Medal!

The Team USA roster for the FIBA tournament next week in Chile was finalized this afternoon, and includes the Mystics' own DeLisha Milton-Jones as well as DC-area natives Kara Lawson and Rebekkah Brunson.

If Team USA wins the FIBA tournament in Chile, they will automatically secure a spot in the Olympics. If not, then things get complicated. Assuming the team finishes no worse than fourth in Chile (and it would be, to say the least, a debacle for USA Basketball to finish worse than fourth), they would then have to play in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June 2008 along with 11 other teams vying for the final 5 Olympic berths. It doesn't take an Albert Einstein to figure out that a June 2008 tournament might just conflict with next year's WNBA season. As it is, some of the league's top foreign players are considering skipping the WNBA to stay home and practice with their national teams. Losing some of the top American players wouldn't exactly make Donna Orender's day. However, an Albert Einstein might come in handy to help sort out how that qualifying tournament would work (USA Basketball's explanation is here). So here's hoping that Team USA does itself and its fans a huge favor by just winning next week in Chile!

TV Coverage: Not planning a trip to Valdivia next week? Well, the BasketCases have some good news for you! According to a message board poster with a sharp eye on the NBAtv ticker, NBAtv is planning to televise Team USA's games in the tournament! (Haven't we told our loyal readers repeatedly what a great deal NBAtv is!) This news couldn't come at a better time . . . not only because it would be great to be able to see those games, but also because we are suffering from basketball withdrawal during this lull between the WNBA season and the college season. Let's hope this news is true!

Go U-S-A!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Separated at Birth?

The Mystics announced today that they have appointed Greg Bibb as the team's new Chief Operating Officer.

“'Greg’s experience in sports management, sponsorship, sales and overall marketing is essential as we reposition the Washington Mystics for continued growth in 2008,' said (Mystics President) Sheila Johnson."
According to his bio on the Mystics website, Greg has more than 10 years of sports operations experience. What his Mystics bio doesn't say is that Greg, unbeknownst to Coco and Kelly Miller (not to mention their mother), is actually the Miller twins' fraternal triplet! Pictures don't lie. Please stay tuned to the BasketCases' blog for all late-breaking multiple birth news!

On behalf of Mystics fans, the BasketCases send a warm welcome to new COO Greg Bibb!

Tuesday Update: The Washington Post is reporting that the Mystics are in negotiations with Tree Rollins to remove the "Interim" from his title and formally name him as Head Coach. As fans will recall, Tree took over in June when Richie Adubato resigned four games into the season (0-4), and finished out the summer with a winning record (16-14). The BasketCases think that Tree deserves the opportunity to have a season all his own.

Photo Credits: Washington Mystics and

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Good Year!

Today is the second day of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which marks the beginning of the Jewish new year. The traditional greeting for the holiday, Shana Tova, is a wish for a Good Year. So . . . Shana Tova to all our loyal readers (as well as to the Terps and Mystics) from the BasketCases!

And, since it is the start of a new year, we figured it would be a good time to celebrate . . . something! After a great deal of thought, we decided we would celebrate our first BasketCases video clip! We found this on YouTube and actually amazed ourselves by figuring out how to copy it into our blog! (Centering is still problematic, but learning to do that is on our list of Jewish new year's resolutions.) So, turn up the volume, double click the arrow in the center, and please enjoy a BasketCases first!
Now, if you enjoyed that Maryland "Heart" video from last season, you'll love the new one now linked from the Terps' website. In the middle of the homepage you'll see "Tradition." We've watched it several times already, and can tell you . . . if we didn't already have our season tickets, it would make us want to run right out and get some! (But, if you don't already have yours, and you do buy some . . . be sure to let the ticket office know that the BasketCases referred you!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who Knew?

Yes, of course we knew that Mystics GM Linda Hargrove is a lady of many talents. And yes, we knew that both she and her husband, Ed, are both members of the NJCAA Softball Hall of Fame. So, basketball, softball . . . we knew she was a two-sport star. But even the BasketCases have to admit we were a bit surprised to learn that Linda is also a former champion AAU hurdler! Who knew?

This impressive third-sport credential only came to our attention because Linda is about to be inducted into the Kansas Sport Hall of Fame! A double Hall-of-Famer! (Here's hoping HOFer Nancy Liberman stops at one . . . otherwise the announcers would have to start introducing her as Hall of Famer Hall of Famer Nancy . . . that could get really old.)

Linda, a Kansas native, spends a great deal of time outside her home state. During the WNBA season, Linda of course spends her summer in D.C. or traveling with the Mystics. And in the off season, she can be spotted all over the country scouting college players. Not much time in the Sunflower state. But now, thanks to this much deserved honor, Linda will have a permanent presence in Kansas -- when she's formally inducted on Oct. 21. Congratulations, Linda!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Change at the Top. Last week, the BasketCases heard from a number of Mystics fans (thanks) that Curtis Symonds would be leaving his job as Chief Operating Officer of the Mystics. Curtis has now gone public about his departure. We haven't received any word yet about the Mystics' plans to replace him, or perhaps to reorganize the front office. But you can be sure that if we hear anything official we will pass that information along. The BasketCases wish Curtis the best in all his future endeavors.

Other Mystics News. USA Basketball has a long audio interview with DeLisha Milton-Jones linked to their latest interesting article from the national team's training camp. Dee talks about her new role as the veteran on the team and about some of the young talent in the USA program. The article also includes a photo gallery where you can catch a few glimpses of a smiling Alana Beard as well. Definitely worth a look and a listen!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This October 31st, the Maryland Terrapins have a real Treat in store for Turtle fans! Just when the BasketCases thought the Terps' schedule couldn't get any more challenging . . . or more interesting . . . it did, and it did! At 7 PM Halloween evening, the Terps will be the first college team to play host to the USA Basketball Senior National Team on their 8 game college tour.

"Among the possible players who will play in College Park in a red, white and blue uniform are local fan favorites Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones from the WNBA's Washington Mystics, as well as, Olympic gold medalists . . .Katie Smith, Sue Bird, Swin Cash . . ., Diana Taurasi and Tina Thompson. The 12-member team will be announced at a later date."
Though the Terps should be wearing the home white, three of their players are no strangers to USA Basketball's red, white and blue. As our loyal blog readers know, Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper won Gold medals this summer with the USA U21 team at the FIBA World Championships, while Marissa Coleman brought home another Gold as a member of the USA Pan American team. With that kind of international experience, the BasketCases think Lang, Harp and Marissa (and their teammates) might just have a few Tricks of their own to show USA Basketball's Senior citizens. In any event, it should be a F-U-N Halloween night for Terps fans!

Tickets for the exhibition game are available from the Maryland ticket office (1-800-IM-A-TERP) or online at

Thursday Update: More Good News . . . if you are a Maryland season ticket holder, the exhibition vs Team USA is included in your season ticket package! So, if you've been putting off buying your season tickets, you'd better get them soon . . . before all the great seats are gone!