Aug 22, 2016
The Olympics are history, and the WNBA season has not yet resumed, so let's get you ready for the final rush by reminding you of our nightly Disher and Swisher of the Night honors!
How about an Olympic Disher and Swisher? Sounds good to us!
As a reminder, the honors are not just about the most; quality can usurp quantity in this honor (just ask mutli-time Disher of the Night Janel McCarville).
With that in mind, let's talk Rio (and not just the United States team)!
Disher of the Olympics has some interesting candidates.
Start with the tournament leader in assists, Japan's Asami Yoshisa, with a very impressive 8.7 assists per game. Next highest per game is a familiar name to this column, Lindsey Harding of Belarus won honors while with the Liberty early this season. Harding and Brazil's Adriana Moises averaged five per game. We cannot skip Australia's Leilani Mitchell, who averaged over four assists per game for the Opals.
For team USA, Maya Moore dished the most assists, 34, in eight games, while Sue Bird dished 31 in seven games.
Yoshisa, though, had 24 turnovers in her country's six games, while Harding, Moises, and Mitchell were also in double figure turnover totals. Even Moore had 13 turnovers.
Bird? Um, four. Four turnovers in 134 minutes of play. As the point guard on a team scoring over 100 points per game.
In international play, it is so crucially important that a point guard can handle the ball, find the open player, and NOT TURN IT OVER.
Sue Bird was nearly perfect in her role. Not even a question, Sue Bird is our Disher of the Olympics.
When you look at the United States team scoring over 100 points per game it is amazing that only two players averaged over ten points per game (although four more were over nine).
The leading scorer for the tournament was Australia's 6'8 center Liz Cambage at 23.5 points per game, followed by Turkey's Lara (LaToya) Sanders at 22 points per game. Other familiar names to WNBA fans are at the top of the scoring ladder, including Japan and Seattle Storm forward, Ramu Tokashiki (17.0), and Brazilian Damiris Dantas (16.8).
Rounding out the top five scorers is Spain's Alba Torrens, whose WNBA right are held by the Connecticut Sun (COME TO CONNECTICUT ALBA!).
Diana Taurasi and Moore were the two USA players over ten points per game. Taurasi's 15.6 points per game placed her eighth overall, while Moore's 12.0 points per game was 20th best.
No one could say however that Taurasi did not have herself one heck of a tournament. Her 33 three-pointers on nearly 58 percent shooting is just amazing, but by watching the games, it was the timing, and the way they were shot that made them celebratory.
Taurasi was the star among stars, and our choice for Swisher of the Night.
Thank you to all of the Olympic basketball players that gave us so many thrills and such great basketball over the course of this tournament.
Yes the United States dominated their games, but there was so much to appreciate not just in their nearly flawless execution, but also the respect they showed their opponents, their teammates and the game of basketball was exemplary. They embodied the Olympic spirit in that they gave their all, for their country, with sportsmanship.
A special honorary Disher and Swisher of the Olympics also gets issued here, to Tamika Catchings, because, well, you can't give one to Taurasi and one to Bird without also giving one to Catchings for her amazing spirit, leadership and personality.
Was this the greatest Olympic basketball team the United States has assembled?
I don't know about that. But I do know, we will never see a trio of Bird, Taurasi, and Catchings that embodies the Olympics and USA Basketball so perfectly again.