Live From London - BIG EAST's Danielle Donehew Brings First Person Account from 2012 Olympics

Danielle Donehew

BIG EAST Associate Commissioner for Women's Basketball Danielle Donehew will be travelling to London and will bring a first-person account to BIG EAST Women's Basketball boasts seven former players and two current coaches representing the United States at these games.


BIG EAST Olympic Page


LONDON (Aug. 11) - GOLD!!!! Tonight, Team USA secured their place in the history books with their win over France and was presented GOLD Medals at the XXX Olympiad in London.


Team USA's lead exploded in the third quarter and France was unable to recover.  Every American scored in the game.


For the Medal Ceremony, two Americans had the distinct honor of presenting Team USA with their Olympic awards.  Anita DeFrantz, an IOC member, presented the Gold Medals to each American athlete.  Val Ackerman, America's FIBA representative, presented flowers to each American athlete.  I had a chance to catch up with Val at the celebration party. She was honored to have had a role in the ceremony and very proud of each of our athletes.


 After the game and medal ceremony, the celebration party was filled with applause, hugs, and laughter.  Our 12 Olympians walked around in their dark metal colored sweat suits with heavy, gold medals adorned with purple silk around their necks. Geno Auriemma and Doug Bruno were all smiles as they were able to reflect with family and friends on the wonderful journey the last four years had been.


Amazing that tonight was the culmination of so many efforts. Our most talented coaches, players, and Team USA staff/support staff carved the way and kept the USA above the world in women's basketball.  Tonight, the USA captured a fifth Gold Medal in a row.


Amazing also that the BIG EAST Conference supplied seven of the 12 women's basketball players and two of the four coaches to represent our nation at the highest level of international competition.


Our BIG EAST family salutes the entire Team USA on their efforts and success in earning the greatest sports prize in the world, Olympic Gold.


Signing off from London with a big smile on my face and a cup of English Breakfast tea.






LONDON (Aug. 10) -  Today was the last practice day for Team USA as they continue to prepare for the Gold Medal Game tomorrow against France.  The Drive for Five Gold Medals in a row will culminate with this game and an opportunity to reach a 41st win in a row.


The BIG EAST has much to be proud of as we celebrate our Team USA members:  Geno Auriemma, Doug Bruno, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Aisha Jones, Angel McCaughtry, Maya Moore, and Diana Taurasi.  These ambassadors have dedicated their time and efforts in continuing to propel the USA high above the world.  These coaches and players are some of the most decorated in our game.  The ultimate prize, an Olympic Gold Medal, will be awarded tomorrow night.


As the Games taper down, London continues to be welcoming to the world.  The team, families, and friends have enjoyed countless sights and sounds of the city.  London has shared her history with the world and provided a stage for the world's greatest athletes to etch their names in the history books for all time. 


You have to get to the Gold Medal game to win it.  We are there.  Tomorrow will be big!  Go USA!  Go for Gold!






LONDON (Aug. 9) - London continues to be a great host to the world.  Everywhere you turn, the volunteers, merchants, taxi drivers, workers, and security are extremely welcoming.  The temperature was toasty today.


The semifinal round was played at North Greenwich Arena.  The Arena seats close to 18,000.  The USA women's basketball team defeated Australia tonight to advance to the Gold Medal game on Saturday!  In the second semifinal, France defeated Russia.


The USA women secured their 40th win in a row in their hunt for a fifth-straight Olympic Gold Medal.  This win streak began at the 1992 bronze medal game. 


Angel McCoughtry, a three time BIG EAST scoring leader and Louisville alum, continues to come up big for Team USA.  She is an instant spark plug off the bench.  In the WNBA for the Atlanta Dream, she was leading the league in scoring.  For Team USA, she is energy, defense, and effort.  Angel has embraced her role on the team and is contributing on both ends of the floor.  Up until the Australia game, she was leading Team USA in scoring!  Angel is a crowd favorite.


The crowd was into the game for the full forty minutes.  The USA was down at halftime as Australia was shooting better than 61% from the floor.  As you can imagine, chants of 'Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi' were echoing everywhere.  The Americans stayed positive, hung in, and weathered the storm.  Diana Taurasi led the USA with 14 points.  Tina Charles contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists.  Sue Bird had 13 points.  


One more game and the Medals will be presented!  USA vs France for Gold/Silver and Australia vs Russia for the Bronze.




LONDON (Aug. 8 ) - Today was a practice day for the USA women's basketball team. Preparations were being made for the semifinal game tomorrow against Australia.  The second semifinal will showcase Russia vs France. 

This evening, I was invited to the UConn reception to celebrate their Olympic athletes and coach. It was a beautiful event with quite a large delegation.  The highlights of the program included the introduction of the six women's basketball players from Connecticut on the Olympic team (Moore, Charles, Taurasi, Bird, Cash, Jones) and a salute by Geno Auriemma to Dee Rowe, the Connecticut coach who was named to the men's basketball coaching staff for the 1980 Olympic Games.

As you may remember, the United States decided to boycott the 1980 Olympic games, hosted in Moscow, due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and other foreign policy disagreements.  Dee Rowe was to be assistant coach to Dave Gavitt (founding commissioner of the BIG EAST) for the USA.  Dee and his wife Ginny were very gracious this evening.
As I reflect tonight on all our  USA women's basketball Olympic coaches, I'd like to give a shout out to them all and thank them for their service and dedication!
1976 - Billie Moore
1980 - Sue Gunter
1984 - Pat Summitt
1988 - Kay Yow
1992 - Theresa Grentz 
1996 - Tara Vanderveer
2000 - Nell Fortner
2004 - Van Chancellor
2008 - Anne Donovan
2012 - Geno Auriemma


LONDON (Aug. 7) - London continues to be impressive and the Olympic Park is bustling with activity! Today, we had light rain on and off. (Mental note, always have a raincoat!)

Today was a Game Day, sporting four quarterfinal matchups. We were the first game of the first session (USA vs Canada) followed by Australia vs China.

The stands were packed and the fans wanted to participate! The entertainment during timeouts and halftimes was watched and appreciated..... dance teams, slam dunk trampoline team, and two 'hosts' that encouraged the crowd to dance, kiss cam, sing, wave, and slow motion wave. The fans cheered for their team and cheered for their opponents. It continues to be an impressive sight to see the support.

The USA women had a strong defensive effort with a dominating win against Canada to advance to the semifinals. In the second game, Australia defeated China in a very close game. I can still hear 'Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!' The USA will play Australia on Thursday for a trip to the Gold Medal game! On the other side of the bracket, Russia will face France.

As I watched our game, I was impressed with a few numbers:

USA = 2 BIG EAST Coaches, 7 BIG EAST Players Canada = 1 BIG EAST Player (Achonwa)

Many times during the game, we had 3, 4, or 5 BIG EAST players on the floor between both teams. Pretty impressive!

The semifinal rounds (August 9) will move to a larger arena, North Greenwich Arena.




LONDON (Aug. 6) - After Sunday's win over China, Monday was a practice day as the United States women's basketball team prepared for Tuesday's game against Canada.  


I cannot help but reflect on the staunch British tradition surrounding these games coupled with a powerful BIG EAST tradition of our own. You can easily see the reflection of 30 plus years of a commitment to women's basketball in the BIG EAST Conference.  Our players and coaches are a culmination of all our accomplishments. Amazing that they now lead Team USA and the world.  


Our dominance over the last twelve years has evolved to the highest level of the game of basketball.  Our coaches have groomed our players to become the next ambassadors for whom our country now depends to continue the Drive for Five Gold Medals in a row. 


Our BIG EAST tradition is front and center for the world to see, showcased on the world's greatest sport stage.  


In addition to our seven American players, we also celebrate having two BIG EAST women's basketball players representing their home countries: Natalie Achonwa, (Notre Dame) representing Canada and Lisa Karcic (Villanova) on Croatia.


This is BIG EAST basketball. This is our tradition. 






LONDON (Aug. 5) - Landed in London to a beautiful sunrise, waiting taxi cabs, a detour due to the women's marathon route, Starbucks, and a meander to Trafalgar Square. The city of London is alive with great diversity, energy, and hospitality. Flags of all nations proudly adorn lamp posts, venues, and patrons.


The USA Women's Basketball Team secured a 5-0 mark defeating China today.  Diana Taurasi and Angel McCoughtry (two former BIG EAST players) led the way for Team USA!


Following this victory I scooted over to see Misty May and Kerri Walsh defeat Italy in the women's beach volleyball today! Horse Guards Parade is a tremendous venue.  Loving London, even while dodging rain drops. Check out my twitter feed (@DanielleDonehew) for some photos!