USA Women’s National Team Weekly Update: Brittney Griner, Maya Moore Into China League Semifinals
Three 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team members are currently competing in China, 11 are now in the EuroLeague, three are competing in the EuroCup, one is in Australia, two began the season in South Korea and two are still in college. The remaining athletes are staying in the United States during the WNBA off-season.
Every Thursday throughout the 2014-15 season, USA Basketball will report on the progress of the athletes competing overseas and in NCAA action here in the United States.
Below are recaps (in order) from the NCAA, China, EuroCup, EuroLeague, Australia and South Korea. Check back weekly to see how each player is progressing through the season.
NCAA - University of Connecticut
2013-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team head coach Geno Auriemma and his No. 2 Huskies, including USA National Team members Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart, are off to a 19-1 start to the season, including a 9-0 record in the American Athletic Conference.
One of the Huskies’ upcoming games to circle on the calendar is the Feb. 9 contest versus Dawn Staley’s No. 1-ranked Gamecocks. Played in Storrs, the game is already sold out. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. EST.
Stewart and Mosqueda-Lewis have shared or been UConn’s top scorer in 11 of the Huskies games this season. Stewart is averaging a team-leading 16.8 ppg. to go with a second-best 6.9 rpg., 3.3 apg., 2.2 bpg. and 1.9 spg., while shooting 54.4 percent from the field.
Mosqueda-Lewis, who eclipsed former Husky All-American Diana Taurasi’s record of 318 for all-time career 3-pointers at Connecticut and now has 333 for her career, is averaging 14.2 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 2.7 apg. and 1.2 spg. She has also shot 58 3-pointers this season, an average of 3.1 per game.
Auriemma in December became the women’s NCAA Division I leader for winning percentage, surpassing Leon Barmore’s .8688. Auriemma’s current winning percentage is .8692. He currently ranks sixth among women’s NCAA Division I head coaches in terms of total victories with 898. The next coach ahead of him, and the only one to possibly eclipse this season, is fifth-ranked former Texas head coach Jody Conradt (900, 38 seasons).
CHINA: All-Star Game, Teams Into Semifinals
ALL-STARS: The annual WCBA All-Star Game was held Jan. 24 and the South toppled the North 111-96. Sylvia Fowles (South) and Brittney Griner (North) scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, for their sides. Griner also had 12 boards and threw down a trio of dunks. Not to be outdone, Maya Moore swished in four money balls and earned the 3-point shootout by 21 points.
SEMIFINALS: The semifinals will feature Shanxi (24-7) against Bayi (15-17), while Beijing (24-7) will face Jiangsu (19-11) for the right to play for the WCBA championship, which has been won by Moore and Shanxi the past two seasons.
QUARTERFINALS: Following on the heels of the WCBA All-Star Game, the two-game quarterfinals series was held on Jan. 27 and 29 to set the stage for next week’s semifinals. Griner and Moore helped their teams sweep their series to advance to the semifinals.
Griner and Beijing took down Guangdong (13-17) 82-62 (no stats available) on Jan. 27, followed by an 86-77 victory in the second game behind 34 points and 10 boards from Griner.
Moore and Shanxi downed Liaoning (13-19) 86-77 in the first game (no stats) and 83-64 in the second game, which saw Moore score a team-high 16 points in the victory.
Fowles and Shanghai (19-12), which dropped 10 of its last 15 games, did not come out on top and are out of the race for the title, falling to Jiangsu 61-51 (no stats) on Jan. 27 and 79-73 on Jan. 29. Fowles posted 20 points and 11 rebounds in the second loss.
USA National Team Members Among Top 10 WCBA Leaders
Points: 1. Moore (30.1 ppg.), 2. Fowles (28.8 ppg.), 4. Griner (21.2 ppg.)
Rebounds: 2. Fowles (13.0 rpg.), 6. Moore (8.4 rpg.), 8. Griner (7.6)
Assists: 4. Moore (4.1 apg.)
Steals: 1. Moore (3.6 spg.), 6. Fowles (2.0 spg.)
Blocked Shots: 1. Griner (3.7 bpg.), 2. Fowles (1.5 bpg.), 5. Moore (0.8 bpg.)
EUROCUP: Off Week
The EuroCup was comprised of seven first round groups of four teams and one group of three. Following a double round-robin (home and away) in each group, the top two finishing teams were seeded and advanced to the knockout stages, beginning with round of 16 and continuing through the finals. The EuroCup first round is complete and the round of 16 games were played Jan. 15 and 22. The quarterfinals are slated for Feb. 4-5 and 11-12, semifinals will be played Feb. 26 and March 5, while the finals will be contested March 19 and 26.
Each playoff round consists of a home and away game, with the aggregate score between each pair of teams determining the winner for advancement to the next round. The champion will have an opportunity to contend as a wildcard entry to the 2015-16 EuroLeague competition.
Dolson and Spartak Moscow Region (6-2) are out of the playoffs, having being dropped in the round of 16. However, while its EuroCup campaign has come to an end for this year, Spartak is still very much alive in the Russian League. The club is 8-5 after taking down Enisey 76-70 this week and is sitting in fourth place behind undefeated UMMC Ekaterinburg (12-0), Nadezhda Orenburg (10-2) and Dynamo Kursk (10-3). Dolson is averaging 11.0 ppg. and 4.1 rpg. in the 10 Russia League games in which she has competed.
Bria Hartley and Kayla McBride:
Hartley and McBride aided Hungary’s UE Sopron (8-0) to the quarterfinals and will face Maccabi Bnot Ashdod (7-1) in its two-game series. The duo has Sopron situated atop the leaderboard in the Hungarian League with a perfect 13-0 record.
In EuroCup action, McBride is averaging a team-high of 18.3 ppg. to go with 6.5 rpg., while Hartley is contributing a second best 11.3 ppg. and 3.5 apg.
EUROLEAGUE WEEK 11
Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker powered UMMC Ekaterinburg (8-1) to a 106-63 victory over Wisla Can-Pack (4-6), which features Jantel Lavender and Courtney Vandersloot. Trailing 7-6 early on, Taurasi scored eight points in a 21-6 run that closed the first quarter with Ekat ahead 27-13. From there, Ekat outscored the visitors 32-12 in the second quarter and 27-9 in the third before easing up and sailing in for the win. Taurasi led all scorers with 19 points and added a game-best six assists in 21 minutes, and Parker contributed 12 points, eight boards and a pair of assists in 23 minutes. Lavender top scored for her team and finished the night with 16 points and five rebounds; while Vandersloot added 15 points, two assists and four steals.
Danielle Robinson was held to six points as host ZVVZ USK Prague (4-5) was overwhelmed 72-43 by Galatasaray (4-6). Gala has now won four of its past five games, while Prague has lost four of its past five contests.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike notched her EuroLeague-leading eighth double-double to help Dynamo Kursk (8-2) claim a 66-52 victory over Good Angels Kosice () in Russia. But it wasn’t an easy win. After trailing 17-14 after the first quarter, Good Angels fought to a 36-33 edge at halftime and went up by nine, 47-38, with 4:18 showing in the third quarter. However, Kursk reeled off 12-straight points, including an Ogwumike jumper with 21 seconds left, and Kursk headed into the final stanza up 50-47. Kosice was never able to fully recover as Kursk continued to increase its lead in the fourth quarter. Ogwumike finished the night with 12 points, 11 boards, five assists, five steals and a pair of blocked shots; while Seimone Augustus had four points and four assists.
Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration (BLMA) was off this week.
Nadezhda Orenburg (7-4), with the help of 15 points from Candice Dupree and a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double from DeWanna Bonner, handed visiting Beretta Famila (5-6) an 84-74 defeat. Nadezhda needed a couple of good wins to help advance to the next round and this win certainly helped as the team is now in third place with three games remaining. The team’s final three games are against Brno (0-11), Agu Spor (5-6) and Fenerbahce (10-1) and should be able to get at least one victory in that span in order to advance to the next round.
Lindsay Whalen scored 15 points and dished out four assists to boost Agu Spor’s (5-6) playoff hopes with a 77-73 upset of visiting Bourges Basket (6-5).
The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Group B faced off this week and in a back-and-forth battle, Tina Charles and Angel McCoughtry helped Fenerbahce (10-1) retain the top spot with a narrow 66-63 victory at home against CB Avenida (8-2). Charles scored a game-high 25 points and added nine rebounds, while McCoughtry posted a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds.
EuroLeague Stats Leaders
Points: 1. Ogwumike (20.7 ppg.); 2. Charles (17.1 ppg.); 3. Lavender (16.7 ppg.); 4. Taurasi (16.7 ppg.); 5. Bonner (16.5 ppg.); 7. McCoughtry (15.8 ppg.); 8. Parker (15.3 ppg.); 18. Augustus (12.9 ppg.).
Rebounds: 1. Ogwumike (12.1 rpg.); 3. Parker (10.6 rpg.); 5. Lavender (10.3 rpg.); 17. Charles (7.1 rpg.); 18. Bonner (6.9 rpg.); 20. McCoughtry (6.3 rpg.).
Assists: 2. Taurasi (6.4 apg.), 7. Vandersloot (4.3 apg.).
2014-15 EuroLeague Standings
|4.||Wisla Can-Pack Krakow||4-6|
|5.||ZVVZ USK Praha||4-5|
|7.||Good Angels Kosice||2-8|
|2.||Club Baloncesto Avenida||8-3|
|3.||Nadezhda Orenburg Region||7-4|
|4.||Tango Bourges Basket||6-5|
|5.||Agü Spor Kulübü||5-6|
|6.||Beretta Famila Schio||5-6|
|8.||BK IMOS Brno||0-11|
After starting the season 2-6, Cappie Pondexter and the Dandedong Rangers (11-7) are on a seven-game winning streak and are sitting in third place behind Townsville (14-3) and Bendigo (12-6). The Rangers, who have three games remaining in the regular season, dropped Adelaide (3-15) last week, 95-64. Pondexter contributed eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the victory. The Rangers close out the season against West Coast (4-14) on Jan. 31, Melbourne (9-9) on Feb. 7, Adelaide on Feb. 13 and Townsville on Feb. 15.
Playing alongside former Phoenix Mercury teammate Penny Taylor, Pondexter is averaging 16.2 points and 4.3 assists a game. Taylor is putting up a league-leading 20.6 ppg., as well as 6.5 rpg. and 3.7 apg.
Odyssey Sims and Alyssa Thomas suit up for Hanabank, which is currently 7-19 through its first 26 games of the 37-round season. The team split its two games last week, falling to Woori Hansae 83-70 on Jan. 24 and defeating KB Stars 68-58 on Jan 28. Thomas is averaging league-bests of 19.2 ppg. and 10.6 rpg. to go with a league third-best 3.9 apg., while Sims boasts averages of 11.9 ppg., 4.1 rpg. and 2.3 apg.