Aug. 16, 2004
ATHENS, Greece -
Former Notre Dame All-America center and 2001 consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley scored two points and grabbed two rebounds as the U.S. women's basketball team defeated the Czech Republic, 80-61 on Monday in a preliminary round game at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The Americans now are 2-0 at this year's Olympics and have won 19 consecutive games in Olympic competition, dating back to the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain.
Riley is the first Notre Dame women's basketball player to take part in Olympic competition. She also is the first Irish cager of any kind to play in the Olympics since Adrian Dantley won a gold medal with the U.S. squad in 1976. Vince Boryla also took home the gold with the American basketball team in 1948, while Bill Hanzlik never got that chance in 1980 due to a U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Games.
Like their Olympic opener on Saturday against New Zealand, the Americans started slowly against the Czech Republic, falling behind by nine points in the first quarter. However, Team USA bounced back and put the game on ice with a 25-5 run that covered the final 5:50 of the first half and extended into the opening moments of the third quarter. The U.S. lead ballooned to as much as 24 points in the final period before the Czechs made a late spurt to get the deficit back inside of 20 points.
Lisa Leslie led the American side with 15 points and 10 rebounds, highlighting a dominant 43-22 U.S. advantage on the glass. The four-player BIG EAST Conference contingent (Riley, Swin Cash, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi) accounted for 21 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.
The U.S. women's basketball team is back in action Wednesday when it takes on South Korea at 2:30 p.m. Athens time (6:30 a.m. in South Bend). The game will be televised live in the United States on the USA cable network. South Korea is 0-2 thus far in the 2004 Olympics, following an 81-73 loss on Monday to New Zealand -- the same New Zealand squad that lost to the Americans by 52 points on Saturday.
Here is the tentative remaining schedule for Team USA at the 2004 Olympic Games (all times listed are local to South Bend -- television outlets are subject to change):
Wed., Aug. 18 -- 6:30 a.m. vs. South Korea (live on USA network)-- ND --
Fri., Aug. 20 -- 6:30 a.m. vs. Spain (live on USA network)
Sun., Aug. 22 -- Noon vs. China (live on CNBC network)
Wed., Aug. 25 -- 6:30 a.m or 8:45 a.m. vs. TBA in quarterfinals (Game #1 on USA; Game #2 on MSNBC)
Fri., Aug. 27 -- 1:00 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. vs. TBA in semifinals (Game #1 on USA; Game #2 on MSNBC)
Sat., Aug. 28 -- 8:15 a.m. vs. TBA in gold medal game (live on USA network)