Another USA basketball team, another gold medal … yawn.
That may seem like it’s always the way it is, but not in FIBA 3x3 basketball, a relative newcomer to the international scene. There’s only been one 3x3 championship, in Italy last year – though there was also a 3x3 Youth Games competition in 2010.
And you know what? The U.S. didn’t bring home gold in either event.
With a draw conducted immediately following the final game of its 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women, FIBA, the International Federation of Basketball, assigned the five teams – Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France and Turkey – that qualified as a result of their tournament performances to the two previously established groups, finalizing the preliminary-round schedule for London 2012’s Olympic women’s basketball competition.
Courtesy of Courtnay Pilypaitis, the Canadian Women’s Team will be making its first appearance at the Olympics since Sydney 2000. The former Vermont standout put together an impressive offensive and defenseive effort putting up 21 points and six assists in the final game of the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Ankara, Turkey, to lead Canada to a 71-63 win over Japan and the final remaining berth at the 2012 London Olympics.
Turkey and Croatia made history Friday as each nation earned its first-ever Olympic berth in women’s basketball at the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Ankara, Turkey. France and the Czech Republic, both heavy favorites to make the Olympic field coming into the tournament, did not disappoint as they, too, secured their Olympic berths by winning their quarterfinal matches Friday.
Shabtai Kalmanovitch, owner and manager of the Spartak Moscow women's basketball club, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in central Moscow yesterday. Kalmanovitch was attacked by assailants armed with semi-automatic weapons and shot at least 20 times while driving his Mercedes through the Russian capital according to Russian news agencies. He died at the scene.
Kalmanovitch's driver, who initially tried to give chase to the assailants, was critically wounded and hospitalized in serious condition. A third associate who was with them in Kalmanovitch's car is also said to have been wounded; his condition is unknown at this time.
Anatoly Bagmet, the head of the Investigative Committees Moscow branch, told Russian news agency RIA: "We are looking into different leads, among them the possibility that the murder was connected with Kalmanovichs activities as the owner of the basketball team Spartak Moscow."
The highly successful Russian team has won the Euroleague championships for three years running. The current Spartak squad boasts American WNBA stars Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), and Janel McCarville (New York Liberty), as well as Latvia's Anete Jekabsone-Zogata (Connecticut Sun) and France's Edwige Lawson-Wade (San Antonio Silver Stars), and a host of Russian talent, highlighted by Ilona Korstin. Seattle Storm superstars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson are also on the team, but both were saddled with late season injuries and have yet to join the squad in Europe. The team's coach is Pokey Chatman, former head coach at Louisiana State University.
The Russian titans appeared poised to repeat their Euroleague title run this year, as the Euroleague season tipped off last week, after Spartak, even without three of its American stars, reigning EuroCup champs Galatasaray, 92-59, in the inaugural SuperCup Women on October 20.
"[I'm] disappointed in humanity," McCarville tweeted from Russia early this morning. "This drama got me shook, hoping to go to bed, wake up n [sic] have it all be a dream. reality is a bitch."