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Associated Press, Published July 14 2012

US women's basketball team has potent post trio

WASHINGTON – Geno Auriemma’s eyes light up talking about the talented and versatile post players at his disposal for the Olympics.

Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Tina Charles have dominated the WNBA in the first half of the season, all putting up MVP numbers. Each brings a unique skill set that makes them difficult to guard individually. Together they become a matchup nightmare.

Whether it’s the 6-foot-4 Parker’s ability to take players off the dribble, the 6-4 Charles’ mid-range jumper, or 6-6 Fowles’ powerful post moves – they all are multifaceted.

“They are so dynamic in what they can do which makes them so versatile,” Auriemma said Saturday following a basketball clinic for military families. “What sets us apart from the rest of the world is that other countries may have one, maybe two really good post players, but we have three to go along with incredibly talented guards.”

Auriemma could potentially play the trio together, which would create matchup problems for any opponent.

“We have a lot of different lineups that we can play with,” Auriemma said smiling. “We have a lot of things we’ll try out.”

Auriemma is beginning to implement those twists during two days of training this weekend in D.C. before playing Brazil in an exhibition game Monday night. From there the team heads to Manchester for a game against Britain before a five-day training session in Istanbul.

The U.S. women’s national team opens up its Olympic play on July 28 against Croatia. Other teams in the Americans’ group are China, Angola, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

The trio of Charles, Fowles and Parker are the latest in a line of dominant post players the U.S. women’s team has featured in winning the last four Olympic gold medals.

“You lost two of the greatest posts of all-time with Lisa (Leslie) and Tina (Thompson) gone,” Parker said. “We can’t replace them, but we can build on what they accomplished. It’s our turn to carry on the tradition.”

Parker and Fowles came off the bench in the 2008 Beijing Games, which was their first Olympics. Fowles ended up leading the team in scoring playing limited minutes. Both say they learned a lot from their predecessors.

“I learned to never take anything for granted,” Fowles said. “They set quite the tone and showed us what it was like to be an Olympian.”

Parker had the benefit of playing with and being mentored by Leslie while playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

“She has been so influential in my career that I can only hope to continue what she started,” Parker said.

London will be the first time that trio has played together in a major international event. Parker missed the 2010 world championship because of a left shoulder injury.