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Team USA: going for gold again

If anyone has read any of my pieces before, there’s one thing that is hard to miss in my portfolio: I love basketball.

During my time as a sports writer with The Triangle, I’ve covered our own Drexel University women’s basketball team, and written columns on a variety of other basketball related topics, from a summary of a Golden State Warriors game, to a critique of LeBron James’ attitude, and a glowing praise of the first National Basketball Association female coach, Becky Hammon.

I’m back again with another basketball column. This time, detailing some things that I think others should know about our Team USA women’s basketball team.

With the Olympic games right around the corner, I’ve been anxious to watch some of the best of the best in women’s basketball get back to action. I grew up aspiring to be Elena Delle Donne, watching her do it all, from grabbing rebounds under the net to hitting threes on the perimeter. I love to take advantage of every chance I get to watch her play.

Donne’s team members are no joke either. They all hail from WNBA teams and the top notch college programs all over the country: the University of Connecticut, University of Louisville, and the University of Tennessee, just to name a few. The USA Olympic team roster includes some of the all-time greats, including Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and a more recent star, Brittney Griner.

Among my friends and coworkers, there doesn’t appear to be much hype going into this set of Olympic games, and if there is, it’s not surrounding women’s basketball. The spotlight might be on swimming or gymnastics, or maybe soccer, or even the men’s game, but I wanted to shed a little light onto why the USA women’s basketball team might be a team you want to tune in and watch while they put on a show in Rio.

I’m just going to come out with the facts: the USA women’s basketball team hasn’t lost since 1992 — since then, they’ve been on a 41-game winning streak in the . They’ve won five straight gold medals, which means that this year, they’re aiming for their sixth. No USA olympic team has been this successful since the USA men’s basketball team, who kept their streak going from 1936 to 1968.

If you’re going by statistics, the women’s national basketball team is much more dominant than our current men’s team. So why can’t the ladies get the same attention that the likes of players like LeBron James do? Or why can’t they get some of the recognition awarded to fellow Olympian Michael Phelps? Or even members of the USA women’s soccer team? Why aren’t people more excited to get the chance to watch this awesome team play? Maybe I’m just a basketball fanatic, and I’m a girl, but I think that there should be some more excitement about this.

I’ve always struggled with the idea that women’s basketball gets a lot less recognition (and pay, and support) than their male counterparts, so this really doesn’t sit well with me.

The United States’ women’s basketball team is immensely successful on the national stage. If we’re sports fans at all, we should give them the support and recognition they deserve — not in the context of any other sport, but independently. They’ve surely worked hard enough to deserve it.

So, if you find yourself bored this upcoming Saturday morning, Aug. 6, switch on the TV and take a look at the way these ladies play. Watch them dominate. They’ll be kicking off their Olympic stint at 11:00 a.m. EST on NBC — and given their track record, watching them head towards their sixth straight gold medal might be worth your while.