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Rio 2016: Going for 4th gold, Diana Taurasi doesn't want Olympic dream to end

Rio de Janeiro may be nearly 6,300 miles from Chino, California, where Diana Taurasi grew up, but in a basketball sense her coming to this South American city to compete for another Olympic gold medal is something of a homecoming.

Like a few of her teammates in Rio, Taurasi is going for her fourth gold in women's basketball, and she can't bear the thought of not getting another go-round with the likes of Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings.

“This could be the last time we’re on the court together,” Taurasi told Fox News Latino after a practice session in Tarrytown, New York, a few days before the team departed for Brazil. “I don’t even want to think about it.”

Taurasi’s coach Geno Auriemma pointed out that many of his squad members play for a WNBA team as well as a European one.

“With all those commitments,” Auriemma told reporters before the team left for Brazil, “this is their home base – coming together and playing with all these great players.”

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Of course, Auriemma has known Taurasi, whose father is of Italian descent and her mother Argentinean, since she was a teenager. "I remember when I coached Diana as a under-18 player," he recalled, "and we beat Russia to win a world championship. She and Sue Bird are the smartest players who have ever been on the court."

Smiling, he added, "Neither of them have ever been wrong. Just ask them."

Of course, Bird and Taurasi teamed up to win two NCAA titles together (2000, 2002) under Auriemma at the University of Connecticut. Taurasi won a third without Bird, but their regular reunions on Team USA have allowed the two to stay close.

"We finish each other's sentences," Taurasi said of Bird, before echoing Auriemma. "By far, the smartest player I've ever played with."

Asked if it gets any easier, coming together with a bunch of other stars and trying to gel into a cohesive unit, she answered, "It's always a process, but you don't get this opportunity often. If they ask you to represent your country, you do it."

Is she concerned about the unrest in Brazil? Not really, she said, pointing out that her first Olympics, in Athens in 2014, had some turmoil because of the country's economic troubles at the time.

"There was political unrest," she remembered, "and it got a little nasty. I remember one person coming up to us when someone on the team asked for something in English and saying, 'We don't speak Bush.'"

She laughed at the memory, and added, "I don't speak Bush, either. I speak Clinton, but still."