Sports

U.S. women's basketball must gel soon

Without much time to prepare for the upcoming Olympics, the entire U.S. women's basketball team was finally on the court together Monday night.

The team began a four-day training camp at Stanford University to start its quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive gold medal.

"It's awesome to see this team from 1 through 12," U.S. coach Anne Donovan said. "I'm like a kid in a candy store with all this talent."

But unlike past U.S. teams, this group has not had any time together on the court as a whole team because of injuries, overseas commitments and the WNBA season.

The U.S. has been forced to go with a piecemeal training philosophy, holding different training camps and tours over the last two years to help the selection committee choose from a pool of 29.

"It's very good to have everyone here. It's time to go to work," two-time gold medalist Katie Smith said.

Led by three-time gold medalist Lisa Leslie, the team is a mixture of veterans and talented newcomers.

The U.S. finds itself in a different position than it's accustomed to coming off a third-place finish at the 2006 world championships. The U.S. lost to Russia in the semifinals, its first defeat in major international competition since 1994. Australia won the gold.

"We're definitely the underdogs," said guard Diana Taurasi, the WNBA scoring leader at 23.9 points per game. Leslie didn't totally agree.

"I have three gold medals at home and know what it takes to win," Leslie said.

Meanwhile, WNBA star Lauren Jackson led Australia to a 99-62 win over Olympic group rival Brazil in Wollongong, Australia. Jackson, the WNBA's 2007 MVP with the Seattle Storm, scored 19 points and had seven rebounds.

SWIMMING -- Dara Torres' coach is set to undergo aggressive treatment for aplastic anemia, the potentially fatal blood disease that has prevented him from traveling to Beijing. Michael Lohberg has been undergoing blood transfusions since arriving last Friday at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Md.

"My spirits are fine," he said by phone Monday. "I'm just exhausted from all these drugs and everything." Lohberg said he speaks daily with Torres, the 41-year-old sprinter set to compete in her record fifth Olympics next month. She flew Friday to Singapore, where the U.S. team is having its final training camp.

"Her training is going fine and she's doing really well," said Lohberg, 58. "She just has some issues with the time change. With 13 hours and at age 41, it just takes a little longer."

ALSO -- A Jamaican track and field athlete tested positive for a banned substance and will be removed from the Olympic team; officials said it wasn't one of the Caribbean island's high-profile competitors. ... Two dead birds were discovered at an Olympic equestrian venue in Hong Kong, and authorities were testing whether they were infected with the bird flu virus. ... Danish mountain bike champion Peter Riis Andersen was barred from the Olympics for testing positive for EPO. ... Cyclist Marta Bastianelli, who is scheduled to compete for Italy, tested positive for a banned substance, Italian news reports said Monday.

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