Olympic Basketball Women history
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Olympic Basketball Women history


The United States
, a wounded lion after having to settle for a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women, travelled to the Beijing Olympics determined to prove they had the best team in international basketball.

They did just that.

No side, save Russia in the Semi-Final when they briefly led the Americans, came close to challenging them.

The Russians eventually lost that game in the last four, 67-52, and then the USA blew away Australia in the gold medal game, 92-65.

Two years before in Brazil, Russia had upset the Americans in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA World Championship and then Australia clinched gold so 2008 proved to be the sweetest of summers for the USA.

Rookie Sylvia Fowles led the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game but it was the veteran leadership of Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catching and Sue Bird, and the suffocating defense played by Anne Donovan's team in nearly every game, that took the Americans to the top of the podium.

The summer was also big from an historical standpoint as long-time center Lisa Leslie put an exclamation point on her fantastic career with a fourth Olympic title.

While the USA took no prisoners in China, there were some moments that showed women's basketball has a bright future.

Alba Torrens, just a teenager and playing for Spain in her first major tournament, had an 18-point debut against China.

The Chinese, with Lijie Miao the tournament's top scorer at 17.9 points per game, met their goal of reaching the Semi-Finals.

Europe had four teams advance to the Beijing Games via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Madrid - Spain, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Belarus - and had five sides in all taking part with Russia ultimately beating China to the bronze.

Korea upset Brazil in their Preliminary Round game, paving the way for them to reach the last eight instead of the South Americans.

The main talking point before, during and after, however, was the United States, who underlined their status as the best team in international basketball.

Download here the Women Olympic Basketball Tournament history

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