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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – The US men and women’s basketball teams arrived in Rio, spent some time on their luxury cruise ship that will house them for the next 20 days and then the ladies went to work.
‘The boatel,’’ a laughing Diana Taurasi said Wednesday. “There’s so many different restaurants and places for us to hang out. It’s big, but not too big.’’
Both teams have spent the last few weeks crisscrossing the country on pre-Olympic exhibition tours. They piled up easy victories in those contests, but the travel was starting to get to them.
“When you spend eight nights in five different hotels it’s tough to get into a routine,’’ US women’s coach Geneo Auriemma said. “Now we’re in the same place for a while and can focus on our goal.’’
The US women had a light practice before speaking to the media Wednesday evening while the men’s team had an optional shootaround after arriving on a charter flight from Houston. They will have their first news conference in Rio on Thursday.
It’s the second time both teams will be housed on a cruise ship during the Olympics. Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Carmelo Anthony – all four-time Olympians – were on those squads.
“I’ve never been on a cruise,’’ Taurasi joked. “The last time I was on a boat was in 2004 in Athens when we stayed on the Queen Mary. So this has kind of almost been like normal for my Olympic experience.’’