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Follow former Lady Vols at the Olympics



Aug. 23, 2008 (11:55 a.m.)

FOLLOW FORMER LADY VOLS AT THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES

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U.S. OLYMPIC 100M BUTTERFLY SCHEDULE
August 9 (Sat.):7:01 a.m.Magnuson advanced, 57.70
August 9 (Sat.):10:10 p.m.Magnuson advanced, 57.08
American Record
August 10 (Sun.):10:21 p.m.Magnuson wins Silver, 57.10
U.S. OLYMPIC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
August 9 (Sat.):8:00 a.m.vs. Czech Republic, W 97-57
August 11 (Mon.):8:00 a.m.vs. China, W 108-63
August 13 (Wed.):10:15 a.m.vs. Mali, W 97-41
August 15 (Fri.):8:00 a.m.vs. Spain, W 93-55
August 17 (Sun.):10:15 a.m.vs. New Zealand, W 96-60
August 19 (Tue.):8:00 a.m.Quarters - South Korea, W 104-60
August 21 (Thu.):8:00 a.m.Semis - Russia, W 67-52
August 23 (Sat.):10:00 a.m.Finals - Australia, W 92-65
U.S. OLYMPIC WOMEN'S SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
August 12 (Tue.):12:00 a.m.vs. Venezuela, W 11-0
August 13 (Wed.):12:00 a.m.vs. Australia, W 3-0
August 14 (Thu.):12:00 a.m.vs. Canada, W 8-1
August 15 (Fri.):12:00 a.m.vs. Japan, W 7-0
August 16 (Sat.):12:00 a.m.vs. Chinese Taipei, W 7-0
August 17 (Sun.):5:30 a.m.vs. Netherlands, W 8-0
August 18 (Mon.):12:00 a.m.vs. China, W 9-0
August 20 (Wed.):9:30 a.m.Semis - Japan, W 4-1
August 21 (Thu.):6:30 a.m.Finals - Japan, L 1-3
U.S. OLYMPIC 400M SCHEDULE
August 16 (Sat.):12:10 p.m.Trotter advanced, 51.41
August 17 (Sun.):9:00 a.m.Trotter failed to advance, 51.87

(All Times Eastern)

USA Takes Gold Medal With Win Over Australia

Saturday, August 23

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

USA's Kara Lawson (7) is defend by Australia's guard Tully Bevilaqua during the first quarter of their women's gold medal basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2008.
BEIJING - Lisa Leslie and the U.S. women's basketball team was once again too good for Australia at the Olympics.

Leslie capped off her illustrious Olympic career with a fourth straight gold medal scoring 14 points in a 92-65 victory over Australia on Saturday night. She joined former teammate Teresa Edwards as the only basketball players ever to win four gold medals.

Former Lady Vol Kara Lawson was perfect from the field in scoring a game-high 15 points. Lawson hit all five field goals, including one 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. She added three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Candace Parker was also perfect from the field, going 4-for-4 with 14 points and four rebounds. Tamika Catchings added six points with five rebounds.

Russia took the bronze medal beating host China 94-81 as Becky Hammon scored 22 points.

The Aussies have now lost to the Americans in the gold medal game in the past three Olympics with all three defeats coming by double-digit margins.

Australia figured this was its best shot to beat the Americans as Penny Taylor and Erin Phillips missed the first half of the WNBA season so that they could train for the Beijing Games. Lauren Jackson left the Seattle Storm two weeks before the Olympic break so she could join her teammates.

Even with their extra training and Taylor returning to the starting lineup after missing the semifinals with a sprained right ankle, the Australians just couldn't match the Americans' depth.

Lawson led the U.S. with 15 points, Parker added 14, and Sylvia Fowles added 13 as the American reserves outscored Australia's 59-11.

Click HERE to read the complete game recap.


USA Advances to Gold Medal Game With Win Over Russia

Thursday, August 21

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

Russia's Ilona Korstin is fouled USA's Tamika Catchings (10) during women's semi final basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008.
BEIJING - The U.S. women's basketball team passed its first test of the Olympics, beating Russia in its closest contest in Beijing. Now it's on to a fourth straight gold medal game.

Diana Taurasi scored 21 points and Tina Thompson added 15 to help the U.S. pull away from Russia 67-52 on Thursday night in the semifinals. The Americans will face either Australia or China in the gold medal game Saturday. The U.S. will be looking to win its fourth straight Olympic gold medal.

The Tennessee trio wasn't relied upon for scoring as much as defense as they combined for just nine points and hauled in over a third of USA's 52 rebounds. Tamika Catchings had four on four free throws with eight rebounds and two steals. Candace Parker added three with eight rebounds. Kara Lawson hit a pair of free throws with two karoms.

The U.S. had been averaging 99.2 points as they cruised through the first six games, winning by 43 points a contest. The closest win was a 38-point rout of Spain, in which the U.S. only led by five at the half.

However the Americans hadn't played a team as good as Russia, which had been inconsistent during the Olympics -- barely winning games in pool play. In the quarterfinals, the Russians trailed Spain by 18 in the first half before rallying for an 84-65 victory.

For nearly 23 minutes Russia gave the U.S. all it could handle, taking a 38-33 lead on Maria Stepanova's bank shot with 7:17 left in the third quarter.

Then the Americans scored the next 12 points.

Thompson hit a tough turnaround jump shot to start the run. A 3-pointer by Katie Smith and another by Taurasi, layups by Thompson and Lisa Leslie gave the U.S. a 45-38 cushion.

Stepanova finally ended Russia's drought with a foul line jumper with 3:25 left in the period it was the last points they'd score in the quarter as the U.S. led 48-40 going into the final period.

The U.S. found itself in a new position after the first quarter -- trailing. Through pool play and the quarterfinals the Americans never trailed after the first period. On Thursday they couldn't hold onto the ball committing 10 turnovers in the first period, most coming on sloppy play. Lisa Leslie had half of them herself as the U.S. found itself down 16-13 after the first.

The U.S. has won 32 straight games in the Olympics with their last loss coming to the Unified team in the semifinals of the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Click HERE to read the complete game recap.


USA Softball falls to Japan in Gold Medal game

Thursday, August 21

Monica Abbott on the medal stand in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008.

BEIJING -- Even the relief pitching of former Lady Vol Monica Abbott couldn't help the U.S. Olympic softball team as they were denied a fourth straight gold medal, losing 3-1 on Thursday to Japan in the sport's final appearance in the games for at least eight years.

Yukiko Ueno, Japan's remarkably resilient right-hander, shut down the Americans and handed them their first loss since Sept. 21, 2000 at the Sydney Games. The U.S. had won 22 straight since then, most of them with outrageously lopsided scores.

Another gold was certainly within reach. Instead, they walked off Fengtai Field with their heads bowed.

The U.S. team never led and made two uncharacteristic errors in the seventh inning to help the Japanese add an important insurance run -- one they didn't even need.

When Caitlin Lowe grounded to third for the final out, Vicky Galindo, who led off the U.S. team's seventh inning with a pinch-hit single, wrapped her hands over her helmet and cringed.

Moments later, U.S. coach Mike Candrea huddled his stunned players, many of whom couldn't even look up. Lowe choked back tears as slugger Crystl Bustos tried to console her overwhelmed teammates.

Bustos, who homered in the fourth for the Americans' only run, was first in line to congratulate the Japanese players. As she shook hands with the U.S. team, Japan catcher Yukiyo Mine was overcome by tears.

Click Here to the read the rest of the game recap.


Extra-inning heroics lift USA over Japan 4-1; Advances to Gold Medal Game

Wednesday, August 20

USA's Laura Berg (44) jumps into the arms of Monica Abbott after the US defeated Japan 4-1 in a semifinal softball game in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008.

BEIJING -- The USA Softball team has advanced to its fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal game after a heart-pumping 4-1 nine inning victory against Japan. The pitching of Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) held off the Japanese through eight innings before the efforts of Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) and power hitter Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) put four runs on the board in the top of the ninth to seal the victory. The U.S. moved to 8-0 overall and will match up in the gold medal game against Japan.

In the top of the ninth with a 1-0 lead, Bustos drove her fifth home run of the Games at least 250 feet into the left field stands giving the U.S. the eventual 4-1 win.

Olympic rookie Abbott started in the circle for the U.S. team earning her third start of the Games. The left-handed hurler started the first inning allowing a hit up the middle to Japan's Eri Yamada but closed down the inning with a swinging strikeout, her second of the inning.

Abbott and the U.S. defense continued the pitchers duel in the circle retiring the next three Japanese batters via a strikeout, pop out and flyout.

Abbott continued to rock from the circle, as the U.S. saw its fourth hit of the game in the top of the fifth when Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) drove the ball through the left side. Lowe then reached first on a walk that was issued after a 3-2 count saw Ueno not throw the ball in time of the :20 second clock therefore a ball No. 4 was called. With RBI leader Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) at the plate and two runners on, the dugout and stands were cheering loud looking to get momentum. Mendoza then drove a hard line drive right at Japanese third baseman Megu Hirose who then turned a double play to first base calling Lowe out to silence the momentum keeping the game at zeros.

The bottom of the seventh inning brought much excitement as Japan made a two-out rally.

With a score of 0-0, the international tie-breaker rule was put into effect in the top of the 8th inning placing Duran, the batter schedule to hit ninth in the inning, at second base. With Nuveman scheduled to hit, Candrea called on four-time Olympic veteran Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) to pinch hit. With speed and bunting skills, Berg drove an infield base hit to Japanese shortstop Rei Nishiyama and was safe at first putting runners at the corners with no outs. Jung and Flowers then struck out swinging bringing leadoff Watley to the plate. Watley fouled off a couple pitches before a ground out to Ueno closed the inning again scoreless.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Japan's Hirose was placed on second base before back-to-back foul outs from Japan quickly put two outs on board. The battery of Nuveman and Abbott continued to roll however, as Motoko Fujimoto was strikeout victim No. 11 for Abbott.

Click Here to the read the rest of the game recap.


USA Tops South Korea 104-60, Advances to Semifinals

Tuesday, August 19

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

USA's Candace Parker, right, tries to pass South Korea's Lee Jongae during women's quarterfinal basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008.
BEIJING - Sylvia Fowles and the U.S. women's basketball team were too big for South Korea to handle.

Fowles scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the U.S. to a 104-60 rout of South Korea on Tuesday night and advance to the semifinals of women's basketball. It's the sixth straight Olympics that the Americans have advanced to the medal round. The only time they didn't qualify for the semis in the history of women's basketball was in 1980 and that's because the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games.

Kara Lawson led the Tennessee trio with 11 points. She connected on 4-of-5 from the field including three 3-pointers with a pair of rebounds and assists. Tamika Catchings had six points, going 3-of-3 from the field, to go along with five rebounds and two assists. Candace Parker added eight points with four rebounds.

The Americans will face either Russia or Spain in the semifinals Thursday night. China plays Australia in the other semifinal.

The U.S. has now won 31 straight games since losing to the Unified team in the semifinals of the 1992 Olympics. The Americans were 5-0 in their pool, winning by an average of 43 points. The only trouble they had during group play was in the first 3 minutes against the Czech Republic when they trailed 13-2 before going on to win by 40 points and when they led Spain by five at the half Friday before coasting to a 38-point victory.

On Tuesday, South Korea held tough for the first quarter behind hot shooting. They were 9-for-16 (59 percent) from the field in the period and only were down 25-21 at the end of the period.

The Americans went on a 18-4 run to start the period as Fowles had four points, five rebounds and a block during the spurt. The U.S. outscored South Korea 26-9 in the period and led by 21 at the half.

Any thoughts of a South Korean comeback were quickly dashed when the Americans opened the third quarter with a 15-4 run. The lead ballooned to 41 behind Fowles, who scored nine of her points in the period.

Click HERE to read the complete game recap.


Bum Knee Ends Trotter's Olympic Run

Sunday, August 17

DeeDee Trotter

BEIJING -- DeeDee Trotter's run in the women's 400-meter dash at the Olympic Games came to an unfortunate end Sunday at the Bird's Nest. The former University of Tennessee standout saw her quest to make her second straight Olympic final in that event come up short, but not before she did everything she could to overcome a knee injury suffered in a freak accident a couple of months ago.

Running on a swollen left knee that will require surgical repair, the ex-Lady Vol wound up seventh in heat three in 51.87 seconds. That mark left her tied for 17th overall and was not good enough to advance her to the finals. She had finished fifth in 2004.

U.S. teammates Sanya Richards and Mary Wineberg had mixed results. Richards moved along with the fastest time of the semis at 49.90, winning heat two, while Wineberg joined Trotter in seeing her individual season end with a 51.13 effort that placed her fifth in heat one.

"It's been a tough few days," said Trotter, who hadn't run a race leading up to the Games since taking third at the U.S. Olympic Trials back in early July. "Right up until Tuesday, my knee was fine. Come Tuesday, my knee started going downhill.

"I was competing with a swollen knee right now. Today's race, I gave it my all. I'm not disappointed. If it was any year that I wasn't going to be here, this was it."

The question now for Trotter is, will she be healthy enough to be considered for a spot on the U.S. 4x400m relay? She helped the Americans win a gold medal four years ago. The relay schedule includes the semifinals at 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 22 (7:40 a.m. ET, Aug. 22) and the final at 8:40 p.m. ET on Aug. 23 (8:40 a.m., ET Aug. 23).


USA Downs New Zealand 96-60, Quarterfinals vs. South Korea Next

Sunday, August 17

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

USA's Tamika Catchings is defended by New Zealand's Jillian Harmon, left, during the third quarter of their women's preliminary basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008.
BEIJING - Another game, another rout.

Tina Thompson scored 10 of her 15 points during a 21-0 run in the second quarter and the U.S. women's basketball team beat New Zealand 96-60 on Sunday night.

Tamika Catchings led the Tennessee three with 11 points, including 2-of-2 3-pointers, to go along with three rebounds, assists and steals. Kara Lawson also had a hot hand, hitting 4-of-6 from the field to finish with nine points and three assists. Candace Parker added six points with five rebounds.

The U.S. closed out pool play in the same fashion as all its other games in the Olympics -- with a blowout. The Americans won the five games by an average of 43 points. With the exception of a rough first half against Spain and the first 3 minutes against the Czech Republic, the U.S. looked unbeatable.

The U.S. will play South Korea in the quarterfinals Tuesday night. The South Koreans advanced to the next round by holding off Latvia 72-68 on Sunday.

New Zealand was able to stay close with the U.S. for a quarter behind hot shooting. They were 8-for-16 in the first quarter and only trailed by five at the end of the period.

The U.S. took over in the second quarter turning up their defensive intensity. Lisa Wallbutton's jumper with 7:29 left in the period cut New Zealand's deficit to 29-22 before the Americans scored 21 straight points.

Lisa Leslie started the run with a layup and then Thompson hit three layups and two jumpers over the next 5 minutes as the U.S. stretched out its lead. Delisha Milton-Jones' reverse layup ended the run with 18 seconds left in the half and put the Americans up 50-22.

New Zealand (1-4) finally scored on Jillian Harmon's jumper from the corner just at the halftime buzzer. The Kiwis missed eight straight shots and had three turnovers during the drought.

The U.S. extended its lead in the third quarter to 38 in the third quarter behind Katie Smith, who had eight of her 13 points in the period.

Click HERE to read the complete game recap.


Abbott pitches perfect game for second Olympic victory

Sunday, August 17

Monica Abbott. (Getty Images)

BEIJING - Former Lady Vol Monica Abbott pitched five perfect innings, Crystl Bustos, Jessica Mendoza and Tairia Flowers homered and the U.S. Olympic softball team extended its winning streak to 20 with an 8-0 win over the Netherlands.

The U.S. (6-0) needed just 70 minutes to finish off the Dutch (0-6), first-time Olympians who couldn't handle Abbott's fastball and were saved an uglier drubbing by the international run-rule. The left-hander retired all 15 batters, striking out nine.

Seeking their fourth straight gold medal, the Americans have now outscored the opposition 44-1 in the tournament.

Bustos and Mendoza have four homers and the U.S. has connected for 12, setting a new Olympic record. On Monday, the Americans will play China (2-4).

Click HERE to read the full game recap.






U.S. 4x100 medley relay captures silver medal

Saturday, August 16

Christine Magnuson displays her silver medal. (Getty Images)

BEIJING - Former Lady Vol Christine Magnuson captured her second silver medal on Saturday night as a member of the United States 4x100 medley relay at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The U.S. medley relay team set the American record with a time of 3:53.30 and was runner-up to Australia, who finished in a world record time of 3:52.69.

Magnuson posted a 56.14 split, swimming the butterfly stroke on the third leg. She started about a body length behind Australia's Jessica Schipper (56.25 split) and made up ground before hitting the wall for Dara Torres.

Joining Magnuson and Torres on the runner-up American squad was Natalie Coughlin and Rebecca Soni.

Australia's team was made up of Schipper, Libby Trickett, Emily Seebohm and Leisel Jones. Jones gave the Aussies a sizable lead, swimming the breast in 1:04.58 on the second leg.

Magnuson, using her unique side-breathing technique, became the first former Lady Vol to win an individual swimming medal in the Olympics on Sunday and broke Coughlin's American record in the fly last Saturday night, posting a 57.08.

Magnuson captured the 100m fly title at the Olympic Trials by swimming 58.11 in the finals. She was a 26-time All-American at Tennessee and just wrapped up her eligibility this past season.

She won the NCAA Championship in the 100y fly and was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Year this past winter.

She will return to Knoxville with a pair of silver medals.


Trotter moves on to 400-meter semis

Saturday, August 16

DeeDee Trotter of the US looks at her result after competing in the women's 400m heat 1 at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 16, 2008.
BEIJING -- Former University of Tennessee track & field standout DeeDee Trotter was one of three Americans to move on to the semifinal round of the Olympic women's 400-meter dash Saturday at the Bird's Nest.

Running in heat one, Trotter grabbed one of three at-large berths into the next round by finishing fourth in heat four in 51.41 seconds. The top three finishers in each heat automatically advanced, as did the next three fastest times. The ex-UT national champion had the best of the non-auto clockings and was 13th out of the 24 advancers.

Trotter, the fifth-place finisher in this event at the 2004 Olympiad and a gold medal winner on the U.S. 4x400m relay at those Games, was joined by countrywomen Sanya Richards and Mary Wineberg in moving along to the semis. Richards won heat five in 50.54, while Wineberg was second in heat three in 51.46. The trio will run at 9 p.m. on Sunday in Beijing or 9 a.m. Sunday, Eastern Time. The final is slated for 10:10 p.m. on Aug. 19 (10:10 a.m. ET, Aug. 19). The relay schedule includes the semifinals at 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 22 (7:40 a.m. ET, Aug. 22) and 8:40 p.m. ET on Aug. 23 (8:40 a.m., ET Aug. 23).

"I'm very pleased with my performance today," Trotter said. "I was pleased with my time. It was faster than just about every third-place (heat) time.

"I have not had a race since the Olympic Trials because of my knee. It was doing O.K., but over the past three or four days, my knee has become a problem. I've had some swelling, and it wasn't until today that it started to go down."




Magnuson to swim butterfly leg in 4x100 medley relay finals

Friday, August 15

BEIJING - The U.S. 4x100 medley relay team won Heat 1 of the preliminaries on Friday morning and qualified as the No. 3 seed for Saturday night's finals at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The U.S. "B" team of Margaret Hoelzer, Megan Jendrick, Elaine Breeden and Kara-Lynn Joyce finished with a time of 3:59.15.

Former Lady Vol Christine Magnuson, fresh off her silver medal performance on Sunday night, will swim the butterfly leg in the finals. Joining her should be gold medal-winners Natalie Coughlin (backstroke) and Rebecca Soni (breast), and 41-year-old Dara Torres (free).

Australia, who also swam its "B" team, won Heat 2 in 3:57.94. The Aussies and U.S. are expected to battle for the gold medal. Australia's team will probably be made up of Jessicah Schipper (fly), Emily Seebohm (back), Leisel Jones (breast) and Libby Trickett (free). That team holds the world record of 3:55.74.

Trickett edged Magnuson in the 100m fly, but is also Australia's top freestyle swimmer. Schipper was third in the 100m fly and Jones won the 100m breast.

Often times, top medal-contending relays will swim "B" teams in the prelims.

Another former Lady Vol, Fabiola Molina, swam the backstroke leg for Brazil on the 4x100-meter relay team which finished fifth in Heat 1 in 4:02.61, wrapping up her second Olympic appearance.

Magnuson, using her unique side-breathing technique, became the first former Lady Vol to win an individual swimming medal in the Olympics on Sunday and broke Coughlin's American record in the fly last Saturday night, posting a 57.08.

Magnuson captured the 100m fly title at the Olympic Trials by swimming 58.11 in the finals. She was a 26-time All-American at Tennessee and just wrapped up her eligibility this past season.

She won the NCAA Championship in the 100y fly and was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Year this past winter.

The finals of the 4x100m medley relay are scheduled for 10:40 p.m. ET.


USA Rolls Over Spain 93-55

Friday, August 15

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

Candace Parker (L) and Cappie Pondexter (R) of the U.S. put pressure on Laura Nicholls of Spain during their women's preliminary round Group B basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008.
BEIJING - After three straight blowouts, it took a half for the U.S. women's basketball team to get going and beat Spain.

Tina Thompson scored nine of her 17 points during the decisive third quarter run and Lisa Leslie added 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the U.S. top Spain 93-55 on Friday night. Candace Parker added 13 points with five rebounds, two assists and a block. Diana Taurasi had 12 for the U.S. (4-0).

Tamika Catchings had a hot night, hitting 4-of-5 field goals to finish with nine points. She also pulled down four rebounds and three steals. Kara Lawson contributed five points with a pair of rebounds and assists.

The Americans had won their first three games by an average of 47 points, putting the game away by the half in all the victories. On Friday night, the Americans struggled for a half to get rid of Spain turning the ball over a tournament-high 19 times.

After a sloppy first half that saw the U.S. have 11 turnovers and only lead by five, 39-34, the Americans opened the third quarter with a 20-5 run to take control of the game. The U.S. scored the first nine points of the period, including three by Thompson from the foul line when she was fouled hard by Ana Montanana, who was called for a technical foul -- the first of the entire Olympics.

Catchings' putback with 2:53 left in the period gave the U.S. a 59-39 advantage. Spain closed within 16 to start the fourth quarter before the Americans went on a 13-0 run to put the game away.

The game looked to be another blowout at the start with the Americans jumping out to a 19-4 lead in the first quarter as they held Spain scoreless for nearly 7:30 minutes. However, Spain wouldn't go away, closing the period with a 13-3 spurt of its own, hitting four 3-pointers. Montanana's 3-pointer at the buzzer closed the gap to 22-17.

Click HERE to read the rest of the game report.


Abbott earns first Olympic win over Japan

Friday, August 15

United States' starting pitcher Monica Abbott throws against Japan in a softball game in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Friday, Aug. 15, 2008.

BEIJING - The U.S. used a four-run first inning attack on Friday afternoon en route to a 7-0 run-ahead victory against Japan at Fengtai Field. Extending its 17-game Olympic win streak, the U.S. connected on eight hits including a new Olympic record with four home runs in the contest; two of which came from Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.).

From the circle, Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) garnered her first Olympic victory tossing five complete innings allowing just one hit and retiring four batters via the strikeout.

"Today was a great day for our team," said Abbott. "Our offense is so strong and that was definitely a key because they put some runs on the board early and were ready to go. I knew it was my job to just get them back in the dugout so they could keep doing what they do so well. My arm is feeling great and it's just an amazing feeling because I am at the Olympics."

After a scoring drought against Canada on Thursday afternoon, the U.S. bats unleashed early on Japan taking a quick 4-0 advantage in the first inning.

Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) was entered as the starting pitcher but a game time decision changed things up with Abbott taking the lead in the circle in the bottom of the 1st inning.

Breaking a U.S. 15-inning hitless streak in the 2008 Olympic Games, Japanese leadoff hitter Ayumi Karino connected on a single off Abbott to begin the first inning. However, it was all Abbott and the U.S. defense as they retired the next six consecutive batters leading into the third.

To lead the third inning, Kretschman drove the ball to centerfield for her second hit of the game but the U.S. was held by Someya and crew moving to the bottom of half of the inning.

Abbott held strong in the circle as the U.S. put two more runs on the board once again from the long ball. Flowers then reached on her first single of the Olympic Games and moved to third on two ground outs before Mendoza struck once again with a towering home run to right field. Bringing Bustos to the plate, her power again overwhelmed the Japanese pitching with a rocket line-drive home run to centerfield. This continued her Olympic home run streak to four consecutive games and 11 for her Olympic career.

Click HERE to read the full game recap.


Abbott starts against Canada; Game suspended

Thursday, August 14

U.S. starting pitcher Monica Abbott throws against Canada in a softball game in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008.

BEIJING - It wasn't the United States or Canada who was victorious today as the game was suspended in the top of the fourth inning due to rain with the U.S. trailing Canada 1-0. The team waited it out through two rain delays before the game was called. It will be resumed tomorrow Friday, August 15 following the USA vs. Japan game at Noon. Projected time is 30 minutes after the conclusion of the regularly scheduled game.

Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) worked three complete innings, allowing no hits with three strikeouts while Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) recorded the sole hit of the game in the third inning with a single to right centerfield.

Abbott made her first Olympic start in the circle for the Red, White and Blue and had a tough first outing. She was called for an illegal pitch for her first pitch facing leadoff hitter Melanie Matthews. Another illegal pitch would be called before Matthews hit a deep fly ball that Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) caught then dropped for her first-ever National team error in over 100 games played. The error allowed Matthews to reach second base.

Erin McClean would draw a walk, including another Abbott illegal pitch, with Matthews advancing to third on the illegal pitch. A sac fly by Jennifer Yee was enough for Matthews to score, breaking up a 12-inning shut out streak during these `08 Games. Then it was six straight up and down through the first two innings for Team USA before the rain began just 32 minutes into play starting an hour and 47 minute rain delay.

The teams resumed play and it was evident both teams were ready to take the field, Canada to defend their lead and the U.S. to make a comeback. The game was resumed at the bottom of the second with Canadian Megan Timpf up to bat with an 0-1 count and no outs. The rain delay seemed to settle the Olympic rookie as Abbott sat down two batters with strike outs and a ground out to close out the inning.

Click HERE to read the full game recap.


USA Women Crush Mali 97-41

Wednesday, August 13

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

USA's Candace Parker, left, steals the ball from Mali forward Diana Gandega during the first quarter of their women's preliminary basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008.
BEIJING - The 2008 U.S. Women's Olympic Team needed just 10 minutes to build a double-digit lead and went on to secure a 97-41 win against overmatched Mali Wednesday night at Wukesong Arena in Beijing, China.

Lisa Leslie set a U.S. Olympic record going 7-for-7 from the field as the women's team continued its unblemished run through the Beijing Games. Katie Smith (2000) and former Lady Vol Nikki McCray (1996) held the record for highest field goal percentage, each going 6-for-6 from the field.

Kara Lawson had a strong all-around game with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting with seven assists, three steals and two rebounds. Tamika Catchings connected on all three of her field goals, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and three assists. Parker was one of five players to reach double figures as she picked up 10 points with a couple of rebounds and a pair of steals and assists.

Mali was missing it's top player Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, who injured her ankle in a loss to the Czech Republic on Monday. Even with Maiga-Ba, the winless Mali team would have been hard-pressed to be competitive against the U.S.

However, for a brief two-minute stretch in the first quarter Mali gave its fans something to cheer about. Trailing 7-0, Mali rattled off eight straight points, hitting two deep 3-pointers. Aminata Sininta's 3 with 5:34 left in the period gave Mali an 8-7 lead and forced U.S. coach Anne Donovan to call a timeout.

It didn't last long as the Americans responded with a 17-4 run to close the quarter as seven different players scored. The U.S. (3-0) continued the spurt scoring the first eight points of the second quarter to build the advantage to 32-12 and led 51-28 at the half.

The Americans play Spain next on Friday.

Click HERE to read the rest of the game report.


Abbott pitches in relief in Olympic debut

Wednesday, August 13

Monica Abbott (AP)

BEIJING - Former Lady Vol All-American Monica Abbott pitched a scoreless 1-2-3 fifth inning as the USA Softball team opened the 2008 Olympic Games by making a statement in breaking an Olympic record for most runs scored in a game by a single team and tying an Olympic record with three homeruns. The three-time defending Gold Medal winning team captured an 11-0 victory in five innings against Olympic rookie team Venezuela. Breaking its own previous record which was 10 runs from the 2004 Olympic Games, the U.S. used 11 hits including three home runs and a base clearing double to improve to a 15-game win Olympic win streak dating back to 2000.

Abbott and starter Jennie Finch combined on the no-hit performance

Up next the U.S. will battle a familiar foe in 2004 Olympic silver medal winning team Australia. The U.S. is 20-7 overall against Australia in major international competition (Olympics, World Championships, and World Cups). Game time is Noon on Wednesday, August 13

Click HERE to read the full game recap.


Magnuson appears on the Today Show

Monday, August 11

Fresh off of her Olympic Silver Medal winning performance in the 100m butterfly, Christine Magnuson was interviewd on the Monday morning Today Show.

View the Today Show interview.


USA Women Easily Dismantle Host China, 108-63

Monday, August 11

Box Score (PDF) | Quotes | Photos

US Kara Lawson puts up a shot against China during the first quarter of their women's preliminary basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 11, 2008.
BEIJING - The U.S. women's basketball team quickly dashed any hopes China had of an upset, avenging a loss in April with the second American drubbing of the Chinese in as many nights.

Former Lady Vols Candace Parker scored 12, while Tamika Catchings added five and Kara Lawson four as the USA Women's basketball teamed routed China, 108-63, for their second win in Olympic pool play.

Parker connected on six of seven field goals with five rebounds in 18 minutes. Lawson handed out five assists with three rounds and Catchings had five rebounds and two steals.

Tina Thompson scored 13 of her 27 points during a 23-0 run in the first quarter and the U.S. routed China, taking the boisterous crowd out of the game early.

After the scoring run, the women never looked back.

Bian Lan finally ended China's 6 1/2 minute scoreless drought early in the second quarter with a jumper that rattled around the rim before dropping in. China missed 12 straight shots and turned the ball over three times during its drought.

The U.S. (2-0) didn't stop at its 22-point lead, extending its advantage to 61-27 at the half. The Americans cruised the rest of the way.

China figured to be the toughest test for the Americans in their pool. Up next will be a matchup with Mali (0-2), which lost Hamchetou Maiga of the Houston Comets to an ankle injury in the third quarter of a 81-47 loss to the Czechs.

Click HERE to read the rest of the game report.


Christine Magnuson wins Silver medal

Sunday, August 10

VIDEO: 100m Butterfly Final | Magnuson on Today Show

Gold medalist Lisbeth Trickett, center, silver winner Christine Magnuson, right, of the United States and bronze winner Jessicah Schipper of Australia smile with their medals during an awarding ceremony of the women's 100-meter butterfly in the National Aquatics Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 11, 2008.
BEIJING - Christine Magnuson captured the silver medal in the 100m butterfly on Sunday night at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Magnuson finished second behind Australia's Libby Trickett in a time of 57.10. Trickett won the gold in 56.73, while fellow Aussie Jessicah Schipper grabbed the bronze in 57.25.

Magnuson was third at the halfway mark, touching the wall .02 behind Schipper at 26.95, but was able to edge her out for the silver.

Magnuson, using her unique side-breathing technique, became the first former Lady Vol to win an individual swimming medal in the Olympics. Julia Stowers won a relay gold in 2000 before attending Tennessee.

In the semifinals on Saturday night, the Tinley Park, Ill., native broke Natalie Coughlina's American record by swimming a time of 57.08. Coughlin's old record was 57.34.

Magnuson opened her first-ever Olympic competition by winning her preliminary heat in the 100m fly in 57.70 on Saturday morning.

Magnuson's previous career best before the Olympics night was 57.50, which she set in the semifinals of the Olympic Trials in June.

She has a chance to grab another medal later in the week. Magnuson will probably swim the butterfly leg of the 4x100 medley relay. The medley relay heats begin Friday morning and the finals will be Saturday night.

Magnuson captured the 100m fly title at the Olympic Trials by swimming 58.11 in the finals. She was a 26-time All-American at Tennessee and just wrapped up her eligibility this past season.

She won the NCAA Championship in the 100y fly and was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Year this past winter.


Former Lady Vol Fabiola Molina ends 18th in 100m backstroke

Sunday, August 10

BEIJING Former Lady Vol Fabiola Molina finished fifth in her 100m backstroke preliminary heat and 18th overall in the event on Sunday morning at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Molina, representing Brazil, swam a time of 1:01.00 in Heat 7 and was just .30 away from qualifying to the semifinals.

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe won Heat 7 and set a new Olympic Record at 59.00.

Of the 49 entrants in the 100m back, Molina, 33, was the oldest competitor by at least five years.

A five-time All-American at UT from 1995-98, Molina also competed at the 2000 Olympics in Athens, Greece. She finished 24th in the 100m backstroke and 36th in the 100m butterfly at her first Olympics.

Earlier this summer, Molina set a South American Record in the 100m back when she won the Croatian Open Championship in 1:00.79.


Magnuson sets American Record in 100 Fly at 57.08

Christine Magnuson (AP)

Saturday, August 9

VIDEO: Magnuson's American Record swim

BEIJING - Christine Magnuson broke the American record in the 100m butterfly, while qualifying for the finals in the event on Saturday night at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Magnuson swam a time of a 57.08 to break Natalie Coughlin's old American record of 57.34.

The Tinley Park, Ill., finished just .03 behind reigning world champion Libby Trickett of Australia in the first semifinal of the 100m fly and will be seeded second in Sunday night's finals.

She was third at the turn and split 26.79 at the halfway mark before overtaking Great Britain's Jemma Lowe and holding off Li Tao of Singapore for second.

Magnuson has the opportunity to become the first former Lad Vol swimmer to win an individual medal at the Olympics. Her chief competition in the event will be Australia's Trickett and Jessicah Schipper, who won the second semifinal in 57.43. Trickett's top time is 56.81, while Schipper has gone 57.31.

Magnuson opened her first-ever Olympic competition by winning her preliminary heat in the 100m fly in 57.70. on Saturday morning.

Magnuson's previous career best before Saturday night was 57.50, which she set in the semifinals of the Olympic Trials in June.

Magnuson captured the 100m fly title at the Olympic Trials by swimming 58.11 in the finals. She was a 26-time All-American at Tennessee and just wrapped up her eligibility this past season.

She won the NCAA Championship in the 100y fly and was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Year this past winter.

The semifinals were shown live on NBC. The finals are scheduled to begin at 10:24 p.m. on Sunday night. NBC will be providing swimming coverage from 7p.m. to midnight.


USA Women Blowout Czech Republic, 97-57, in Olympic Opener

Saturday, August 9

Box Score (PDF)| Quotes| Photos

Candace Parker of the U.S. drives to the basket against Petra Kulichova of the Czech Republic during the second half of their Group B women's basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 9, 2008.
BEIJING - With President Bush and the first family looking on, the United States women's basketball team began its quest for a fourth-straight gold medal with a rout of the Czech Republic.

The Tennessee trio of Candace Parker (9), Tamika Catchings (6) and Kara Lawson (3) combined for 18 points to help lead the U.S. to the 97-57 victory in the opener Saturday night.

The Americans got off to a slow star, trailing 13-2 giving up layup after layup to the feisty Czech team. Diana Taurasi finally got the team rolling much to the pleasure of Bush, who was dressed in a blue shirt and USA cap. Taurasi's layup ignited a 20-4 run by the U.S. to close the first quarter.

The U.S. continued the run in the second quarter behind Cappie Pondexter, who scored seven of her 12 points in the period. Her 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Americans a 49-31 lead at halftime.

The Americans continued the onslaught in the third quarter using a 22-5 to put the game out of reach. The U.S. led 75-44 at the end of the third, sending the President, his wife Laura, and daughter Barbara home. The President gave a wave to the delighted crowd as he left at the end of the third quarter.

Up next for the women is host China, which beat Spain 67-64 in its first game.

Click HERE to read the rest of the game report.


Christine Magnuson advances to semifinals

Saturday, August 9

United States' swimmer Elaine Breeden (R) hugs US swimmer Christine Magnuson after the women's 100m butterfly swimming heat at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 9, 2008 in Beijing. Magnuson won the heat and Breeden finished 3rd.
BEIJING - Christine Magnuson won her preliminary heat in the 100m butterfly this morning at the 2008 Olympics.

Magnuson swam a time of 57.70 to win Heat 5 by .30 over second-place finisher Gabriella Silva of Brazil. Fellow American, Elaine Breeden was third in the heat with a time of 58.06.

Magnuson was second through 50 meters with a split of 26.83 and overtook South Africa's Lize-Mari Retief, who faded to fourth after leading at the halfway mark.

Magnuson's performance was tied for the second-best of the prelims and just off her career-best of 57.50 set in the semifinals of the Olympic Trials in June.

Australia's Jessica Schipper won Heat 6 in 57.58 just ahead of China's Yafei Zhou, who tied Magnuson's time of 57.70.

Libby Trickett of Australia was second in Heat 2 in 58.37. She has the top time in the world at 56.81. Schipper ranks second, while Magnuson is third. Trickett and Schipper are widely considered the favorites to win the event.

Magnuson captured the 100m fly title at the Olympic Trials by swimming 58.11 in the finals. She was a 26-time All-American at Tennessee and just wrapped up her eligibility this past season.

The Tinley Park, Ill., native won the NCAA Championship in the 100y fly and was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Year this past winter.

Semifinals of the 100m fly are tonight, while the finals are scheduled for Sunday night.


Olympic Games Open Friday for Eight Former Lady Vols

Thursday, August 7


Talking Women's Hoops, Olympics and Other Interesting Items

The 2008 U.S. Olympic Team arrived in Beijing after seven days of training and hit the ground running on Thursday. The morning was filled with the U.S. Olympic Committee's Ambassador Program and that was followed by an hour-long press conference in the early afternoon and a two-hour practice at Wukesong Arena, home to the 2008 Olympic basketball competition, Thursday night. During the press event the team discussed a variety of topics, including the USA's first opponent, the contributions that will be made by the rookies, veteran leadership, Beijing in general and Lopez Lomong being named the U.S. Olympic Committee flag bearer for tomorrow night's Opening Ceremonies. But don't take our word for it ... read on!

USA head coach Anne Donovan

On participating on her fifth Olympic team as a player or coach:
Every day feels different as a head coach in terms of my own preparation. From before I got here and now that I'm here. The interesting thing is that I love it just as much in this role as I did as a player or working with Van Chancellor (in 2004). It's just nice. I know this is my last time through this, so every day I'm making the most of it.

Has Australia narrowed the gap with the USA in terms of skill level?
They have, Australia, Russia, there is no doubt. If you look back at the history, we've won the gold medal in the past three Olympics, but the competition has gotten much closer. You go back to every Olympics, and the game's have gotten closer and closer in the medal round. And it's always Russia, Australia, USA. We have never looked past Australia. We know that they are right there breathing down our neck.

What do the Olympic rookies offer to the team?
The freshness. We just tend to get more and more athletic in the U.S., and Cappie and Seimone as first time Olympians, they bring that clearly -- Candace, Sylvia. They are all so athletic and so versatile. I think that our game continue to go in that direction, and our young players I think really reflect that.

What do you expect from your first opponent, Czech Republic?
We know that Czech is good, and we have a long history with playing the Czech Republic. We've watched all their Olympic players grow from the junior teams up through the Olympics. So, we are very familiar with the Czech Republic, and what we know about them is the fight. They are fighters, so we know it will be a great battle.

What do you think about playing China?
I think China is definitely here to contend for a medal. I think they have put a lot of time, and money and effort into their women's program, and it has paid off. We've watched this team develop. We've played the Chinese women's team quite a bit through the years, and we've watched them develop. They are a very good team here that will really try to get on that medal stand. Our first game we are going to focus on the Czech Republic, and we'll worry about China when we play them.

Tamika Catchings

Do you feel you are at 100 percent?
I got my good days. I got my 100 percent days. Today is a 100 percent day. I didn't play in that last game against Australia a couple days ago. I hadn't played three games in a row since probably high school. (I played two games) and then that third day I was a little slow, so the coaches and the training staff decided that they wanted me to chill out for a little bit.

On playing with two other Tennessee alumns in Candace Parker and Kara Lawson:
It's fun to be able to share this experience with them. I played with Kara for two years in college. I never got the opportunity to play with Candace. So, to be able to be here and have both of them alongside me has been fun.

Where is your 2004 gold medal?
My gold medal is in my trophy case. I have it in a little case. It has a basketball, it has a team picture behind it, and then I have a t-shirt underneath the ball that has everybody's signature and the gold medal is kind of draped over it.

Kara Lawson

Is this the final notch on your resume?
This is the highest honor you can have as an athlete I believe, representing your country and participating in the Olympics and having the opportunity to compete for a gold medal. This is the icing on the cake right here. I'm really excited about it. I've been a part of USA Basketball since '98 when I was 17, the first time that I was in the system. Your goal always is to try and make the senior national team and try and compete in the Olympics.

What has it been like participating in your first Olympics?
We haven't gotten to go to the village yet, so I haven't really seen too many other athletes, but it's just been cool. Now that we are here in Beijing, you can just feel the buzz that surrounds the city and the energy that's here.

We're starting the get the big picture of the Olympics, but also the big picture of being a part of Team USA, which I can't say you grasp too much when you are just training by yourselves as the women's basketball team. Then you get here, and you start seeing other countries, and you start walking around with your USA stuff on, and it starts to mean a little bit more. ..

Candace Parker

On the pressure of the Olympics:
I don't think I feel pressure. I've played in other pressure situations, and I think the thing that my coaches and my teammates have emphasized is that it is important to stay within the moment and to realize that you've played 500 billion basketball games and it's about that. It's everything else around it that makes it bigger than the game, but it is still about execution and just playing the game you've played so many times in your life.

When did the realization that you were at the Olympics hit you?
I think when we pulled up (to the Main Press Center), and then also from the airport, just seeing all the Beijing Olympic banners and the different signs.

Are you feeling like there is paparazzi everywhere?
No. It's hard to describe. It's a great experience to have so much surrounding you. It really says a lot about what women's USA Basketball is all about, to have the support and to be here and have people that are interested in what we do.


Thursday, August 7

Lady Vol Track Diaries from Beijing
DeeDee Trotter
View diary entries | View photos


Wednesday, August 6

Lady Vol Swimming Diaries from Beijing
Christine Magnuson
View diary entries



Former Lady Vols
in the Olympics




Monica Abbott
Sport: Softball
Athlete Bio


Tamika Catchings
Sport: Basketball
Athlete Bio


Kara Lawson
Sport: Basketball
Athlete Bio


Christine Magnuson
Sport: Swimming
Athlete Bio


Fabiola Molina
Sport: Swimming
Brazil
Athlete Bio


Candace Parker
Sport: Basketball
Athlete Bio


Dee Dee Trotter
Sport: Track & Field
Athlete Bio


Rhian Wilkinson
Sport: Soccer
Canada
Athlete Bio

 

 

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