After a 13-hour flight from San Francisco, the U.S. women's basketball team arrived in China, ready to begin its next phase of Olympic training.
First, however, a little sleep.
Unlike the men's basketball team, which took a charter from the U.S., the women flew commercial. Not the easiest way to get some rest, especially for the likes of 6-foot-5 Sylvia Fowles or 6-4 Candace Parker.
"We take road trips all the time in the WNBA,'' forward DeLisha Milton-Jones said. "This one just happened to be a little further. We're used to sleeping on planes.''
The team landed in Shanghai and was greeted by a swarm of Olympic volunteers. They shuttled the Americans and their mounds of luggage onto four buses for the two-hour ride to Haining, the site of the 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball tournament. Lisa Leslie made sure to check on her baby Lauren, who slept the entire bus ride.
With the team now in China, the players can concentrate strictly on training and adjust to the surroundings. The distractions, which seemed to outnumber the practices in San Francisco, are no longer an issue.
"Between WNBA and USOC events it seems like we had a lot going on off the court,'' U.S. coach Anne Donovan said. "It's nice to actually be able to focus on basketball now and get ready for our first game in the Olympics on Aug. 9.''
Before the opener, the U.S. will face Latvia on Sunday and Russia on Monday in the FIBA tournament. Australia also could be looming in a title game Tuesday.
"Our goal is to win that tournament, but it's not do or die,'' Donovan said. "We'll do the best we can and we won't see Australia and Russia until potentially the medal round of the Olympics, so we want to do well against them now. It's not do or die, we have eight games in Beijing and that's what I'm focused on.''
The Americans will head to Beijing after the tournament.
"It's a long time to be away from home, but its well worth it,'' Parker said. "It's the longest I've ever been away excluding college.''