(East Los Angeles, CA) August 2, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are now half-completed in most levels of competitions as we await more results from our respective teams and sports that are currently in play. For this update, we’ll give you reports of how both of our Basketball teams are doing and how our Softball team performed.
**(Men’s Team): Unfortunately, the Men’s team (25) consecutive Olympic Games winning streak came to an end at the hands of France in their first game of the tournament, (83-76), just a week ago. However, the team needed its next two games to insert Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, and Kris Middleton into the lineup to get them accustomed to the team since they came immediately to Japan right after the completion of the NBA Finals. Since then, the news is more optimistic and the team has finally settled into a cohesive and competitive unit for first-time U.S. Men’s National Team and Olympic Games, Head Coach Gregg Popovich.
Competition): In continuation of their “Group A” round-robin pool play, Team USA very easily went on to defeat Iran (120-66) and the Czech Republic, (119-84) to reach the “knock-out” – quarterfinals of the tournament. Their next game is against Spain, Group B’s 2nd place finishers, and will be played on Tuesday, August 3rd. Check your local listings for our Pacific Time start-time. Leading Individual Player Stats reflect the following after 3 games: Scoring: Jayson Tatum, 16.7 PPG; Kevin Durant, 14.3 PPG, Damian Lillard, 13.3 PPG; Assists: Zach Lavine, 5.3 PG, Kevin Durant, 4.3 PG, Damian Lillard, 3.7 PG; Rebounds: Kevin Durant, 5.0 PG, Jrue Holiday, 4.7 PG, Bam Adebayo, 4.3 PG.
The team is currently on target to win the Gold medal thanks to the very deep FIBA and WNBA experiences of veterans, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles, and Tina Charles. This solid quartet showed the much-expected and quality leadership with their excellent position playing skills. Head Coach Dawn Staley simply went with her game plan and continuously went to her arsenal of big frontline post-players, power-forwards, point guard, shooting guard, and defensive stoppers to dominantly and efficiently power the team into the quarterfinal next round of the tournament.
(Competition): On this first leg of the tournament, they easily defeated their first three opponents in pool play, Nigeria (81-72), Japan (86-69), and France (93-82) in that order. Today’s win over France marked their 52nd consecutive win in Olympic Games play dating back to the 1992 Barcelona Games. The Women’s team is on target to win an unprecedented 7th consecutive Olympic Gold Medal. Leading individual player stats reflect the following: Scoring: A’ja Wilson, 20.3 PPG; Breanna Stewart, 13.7 PPG; Brittney Griner, 13.0 PPG. Assists: Sue Bird, 7.7 PG, Breanna Stewart, 5.7 PG; Jewell Loyd, 3.7 PG; Rebounds: Breanna Stewart, 10.0 PG, A’ja Wilson, 10.0 PG; Brittney Griner, 6.0 PG. Field Goal % – Sylvia Fowles, 75.0%; Diana Taurasi, 58.3%; and Chelsea Gray, 54.5%.
**(Softball): The team went through their “Group A” competition undefeated, going (5-0). On their Road the Gold, the team defeated in the following order: Italy, (2-0); Canada, (1-0); Mexico (2-1); Australia (2-1); followed by the close of pool play’s dramatic game against the host country, Japan, (2-1). That would set the stage for this rematch, but only this time it was for the Gold Medal. Unfortunately, Team USA could not put together any offense and went down swinging against the host country’s team by the score of (2-0). Silver Medals went Team USA. In their first Olympic Games appearance, Mexico lost to Canada for the Bronze Medal. Softball will return to the Olympic Games format in 2024 for our Los Angeles Games.
Local Southern California first-time Olympians who saw action were these four former UCLA Bruin players—Delaney Spaulding, Starting Shortstop; Rachel Garcia, Pinch Hitter; Bubba Nickles, Pinch Hitter; and Ally Carda Pitcher. Dejah Mulipola, from Anaheim, was also a first-time Olympian. She is a graduate of Pacifica HS, attended the University of Arizona and played catcher. She was used as a Designated Hitter in the Olympics.
To close out their participation in the Olympics, an enormous Congrats and special acknowledgement must go out to Team USA’s Ali Aguilar, 2B; Haylie McCleney, CF, Amanda Chidester, Designated Player, and Monica Abbott, LHP for being named to the 2020 All-Olympic Softball Team. For Mexico, Anissa Urtez, Shortstop, and Suzannah Brookshire, Right Field also made the team.