North Greenwich Arena will be the site of much of the basketball action during the 2012 London Olympics, including the women's gold-medal game on Aug. 11. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
The training time for the United States women's Olympic team is brief. The 12 women will have but two weeks to train and play together before the basketball competition gets underway in London. USA Basketball announced the lighting-quick training schedule to prepare for the Olympics today.
The Games, with women's basketball scheduled from July 28-August 11, come at a mid-season break in the WNBA schedule, where most if not all of the final roster will be playing this summer. The lone potential exception, Brittney Griner, will still be a collegian.
The final 12 women, to be selected by head coach Geno Auriemma, will meet up July 14 in Washington, D.C., to begin training together. Their first exhibition will be two days later against the FIBA Americas winner, Brazil, in a double-header with the men's team. The women are slated to tip at 5 p.m. ET with the men following at 8 p.m. ET, at the Verizon Center.
Following the face off with Brazil, the team will travel to England to face off with Olympics host country and automatic qualifier, Great Britain, on July 16. The game is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET) at Manchester Arena.
Also on the pre-Olympic docket is a scheduled four-team tournament in Istanbul, Turkey July 21-24, immediately preceding the start of Olympic competition. This abbreviated training time leaves every game opportunity as an important step to claiming the ultimate goal of a fifth-straight Olympic gold medal.
"I think any opportunity that we get to train is vital," said Auriemma in a statement today. "The game in Washington, D.C., against Brazil gives us an opportunity to see right away what we have. What are some of our strengths? What are some of our weaknesses? It is a great send-off. There should be a lot of fanfare for our team. These are phenomenal athletes and I want the entire country to back them. So, this will be a great opportunity to send them off.
"That whole experience, the games in Washington, Manchester, Istanbul, they're going to be instrumental in deciding what kind of team we're going to be."