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Parker leads easy win by US women’s basketball team

By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times –

LONDON — Something was forgotten in the rush to analyze and, mainly, criticize David Stern’s suggestion that the Dream Team might be in its final Olympic run.

What about the U.S. women’s basketball team?

It’s unclear if a 23-and-under age limit could affect future Olympics for the women’s team, though none of its players embraced the idea.

(PHOTO: USA’s Candace Parker (15) is defended by Angola’s Luisa Tomas (11) during their game at the Basketball Arena at the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, Monday, July 30, 2012. )

“I think players should have the option,” said U.S. forward Candace Parker, pretty much echoing what Kobe Bryant said several times this month.

“Don’t we have AAU tournaments already?” U.S. guard Diana Taurasi quipped. “I think I would side with Kobe in a lot of things. He’s a smart guy.”

Ten of 12 players on the U.S. women’s roster would not be eligible to play in a 23-and-under format, including Taurasi (30) and Parker (26).

Stern recently said he would consider discussing with basketball’s international governing body, FIBA, an age limit to decrease the chance of injuries for a very pricey roster. WNBA players aren’t paid nearly as much as NBA players, whose average salary is $5.3 million.

Stern also envisioned a World Cup of Basketball two years after every Olympics, where there would be no age limit and many more ways for the NBA to profit.

Meanwhile, Parker had 14 points and Seimone Augustus had 13 as the U.S. breezed past Angola, 90-38, Monday in a preliminary-round game.

The U.S. led at halftime, 41-18, holding Angola to seven-for-34 shooting (21 percent). Every U.S. player scored before the end of the third quarter, easily moving Team USA toward a 35th consecutive victory in the Olympics, a streak dating to 1992.

This is Angola’s first women’s basketball team to play in the Olympics and they had made only nine of 48 shots late in the third quarter. Angola had 21 turnovers in the game.

The Americans looked much more fluid than in their Olympic opener Saturday, where they led Croatia by only four points early in the fourth quarter before pulling away for an 81-56 victory.

“Today we found a little bit better organization within ourselves and you could tell on the court,” Taurasi said.

Team USA is trying to win a fifth consecutive gold medal. Team USA’s next game is Wednesday against Turkey, the third of its five in pool play.

In other games Monday, all in the U.S. team’s group, Turkey defeated the Czech Republic, 61-57, and China defeated Croatia, 83-58.

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