USA Women’s National Team Weekly Update: Robinson, Whalen Return to EuroLeague Action; Moore, Fowles Each Nab Two Weekly China Honors
Four 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team members are currently competing in China, 13 are 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 either staying in the United States during the WNBA off-season or have not yet reported to an overseas team.
Every Thursday throughout the 2014-15 season, USA Basketball will report on the progress of the athletes competing overseas and in NCAA action.
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 13-1 start to the season.
Two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Stewart is leading the squad for scoring, averaging 16.6 ppg., to go with team second-bests of 7.2 rpg. and 1.9 bpg., while adding 3.0 apg. and 1.6 spg. Mosqueda-Lewis, who tied Diana Taurasi for all-time career 3-pointers at Connecticut after nailing No. 318 against Tulsa on Jan. 6, is averaging 13.8 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 2.7 apg. and 1.6 spg. She has also shot 41 3-pointers this season, an average of 3.2 per game.
CHINA THROUGH SECOND STAGE ROUND 16
When we left off prior to the holiday break, China was through round 9 of the second stage. Seven games have been played over the past couple of weeks and the standings have shaken up since then. Brittney Griner’s team, Beijing Great Wall (18-5), distanced itself a little bit atop the leader board and have a two-game lead over Maya Moore’s two-time defending champion Shanxi Flames (16-7). Shanxi has moved up two spots in the standings since the break, going from No. 3 at 12-5 to No. 2 at 16-7. Also making a move in the standings, albeit in the wrong direction, is Sylvia Fowles’ Shanhai Sharks (15-8), which went tied for first to fourth place. However, the Sharks are far from out of contention for the eventual title.
The only USA National Team member playing in China who is not among the contenders for a championship is Candice Dupree. Her Zhejiang (6-16) team is in fourth place in the consolation round.
Player of the Week (Round): While we were out Fowles and Moore each earned two Player of the Week honors. Moore was named Player of the Week for round 9 after scoring a game-high 17 points and adding seven rebounds and seven assists for Shanxi in her team's victory against Bayi, and round 10 after posting a double-double of 48 points and 17 rebounds as Shanxi earned an overtime win over Guangdong. Fowles earned the honor in round 13 following a 36-point, 14-rebound double-double as Shanghai took a win over Guangdong, and picked up another honor after a round 14 performance of 47 points and 12 boards in a close, 87-86, overtime loss to Moore and Shansi.
WCBA Second Round Standings
|1. Beijing (Griner)||18-5|
|2. Shanxi (Moore)||16-7|
|4. Shanghai (Fowles)||15-8|
|12. Zhejiang (Dupree)||6-16|
USA National Team Members Among Top 10 WCBA Leaders
Points: Moore (1st, 30.5 ppg.), Fowles (2nd, 28.8 ppg.), Griner (4th, 21.2 ppg.)
Rebounds: Fowles (2nd, 13.0 rpg.), Moore (6th, 8.4 rpg.), Griner (8th, 7.6)
Assists: Moore (4th, 4.1 apg.)
Steals: Moore (1st, 3.6 spg.), Fowles (6th, 2.0 spg.)
Blocked Shots: Griner (1st, 3.7 bpg.), Fowles (2nd, 1.5 bpg.), Moore (5th, 0.8 bpg.)
EUROCUP WEEK 6
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 begins on Jan. 15, 2015.
Each playoff round will consist 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.
Stefanie Dolson: Dolson, who celebrated her 23rd birthday today, and her Spartak Moscow Region (5-1) squad open EuroCup round of 16 play against Istanbul Universitesi BGD S.K. (4-2) next week. The first game is in Istanbul, while Game 2 will be contested in Russia on Jan. 22 for the right to advance to the quarterfinals. Dolson is the lone American on her squad, while IUBGD lists USA Basketball gold medalists Shenise Johnson (2009 U19) and Courtney Paris (2004 U18, 2005 U19, 2006 U20, 2007 U21, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship) on its roster.
Bria Hartley and Kayla McBride: Helped Hungary’s UE Sopron to a perfect 6-0 record in Group H and earned a spot in the round of 16. Sopron will face Sweden’s Udominate Basket (2-2), which features one American, Ashleigh Brown, who played at Miami University, and is competing in its first EuroCup competition this season.
EUROLEAGUE WEEK 8
The new year rang in the start of the second half of the EuroLeague season and saw the return to action of Danielle Robinson (ZVVZ USK Prague) following rehab and the arrival of Lindsay Whalen (Agu Spor Kulubu), upping the number of USA National Team members competing for the title this year’s title to 13. After two weeks off for the holiday break, several U.S. athletes put up impressive numbers in their first EuroLeague game of 2015.
Diana Taurasi poured in 28 points to help UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-1) earn an 84-74 victory over Group A second-place squad ZVVZ USK Prague (4-3) and Candace Parker contributed 12 points and nine rebounds in the win. Danielle Robinson, who was injured early on and missed the first half of the season, returned to Prague and chipped in six points and four assists in the loss.
Jantel Lavender’s 20 points and seven boards and Courtney Vandersloot’s 12 points and five assists powered Wisla Can-Pack (3-4) to a dominating 70-50 victory over Good Angels Kosice (1-6).
Seimone Augustus and Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s Dynamo Kursk (5-1) squad had a bye week.
After ending 2014 with two-straight losses, DeWanna Bonner helped get Nadezhda (5-3), playing without Glory Johnson, back on track with a 24-point, 8-rebound outburst in a 82-50 victory over Energa Torun (2-6).
Lindsay Whalen made her debut with Turkish club Agu Spor (3-5), but her 22 points, five rebounds and five assists were not enough to derail Fenerbahce’s (7-1) double-punch of Tina Charles (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) and Angel McCoughtry (16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) in the 73-57 Fener win. While Fener is almost certainly advancing to the next round, there are still plenty of contests remaining on the schedule for Agu Spor to climb up the ladder and secure a spot among the top four in the group.
Beretta Famila Schio (3-5), playing without Chiney Ogwumike who has not returned from break, dropped its 2015 opener to CB Avenida (7-1), 75-58.
EuroLeague Stats Leaders
Points: 1. Ogwumike, N. (20.7); 2. Charles, T. (17.0); 3. McCoughtry, A. (16.9); 4. Bonner, D. (16.6);
5. Lavender, J. (16.1); 7. Parker, C. (15.9); 8. Taurasi, D. (15.6); 16. Augustus, S. (14.0); 20. Johnson, G. (12.9).
Rebounds: 1. Ogwumike, N. (11.8); 3. Parker, C. (10.9); 6. Lavender, J. (10.3); 14. Johnson, G. (8.0); 19. Charles, T. (6.9).
Assists: 2. Taurasi, D. (6.9), 6. Vandersloot, C. (4.0); 19. Augustus, S. (2.8)
2014-15 EuroLeague Standings
|3.||ZVVZ USK Praha||4-3|
|4.||Wisla Can-Pack Krakow||3-4|
|7.||Good Angels Kosice||1-6|
|2.||Club Baloncesto Avenida||7-1|
|3.||Tango Bourges Basket||5-3|
|4.||Nadezhda Orenburg Region||5-3|
|5.||Agü Spor Kulübü||3-5|
|6.||Beretta Famila Schio||3-5|
|8.||BK IMOS Brno||0-8|
Cappie Pondexter, who yesterday celebrated her 32nd birthday, has helped the Dandedong Rangers win six of their past seven games to go from near the bottom of the ladder into playoff contention. Playing alongside former Phoenix Mercury teammate Penny Taylor, Pondexter is averaging 16.2 ppg., 4.5 rpg. and 4.1 apg. There are six games remaining in the regular season and Dandedong sits in third place in the standings. Only the top four teams advance to the playoffs.
Odyssey Sims and Alyssa Thomas are teaming up for Hanabank, which is currently 5-17 through the first 22 games of the 37-round season. Thomas, who has played in 15 games, is averaging league-bests of 20.1 ppg. and 10.7 rpg., and earned Player of the Week honors on Dec. 20 and 27. Sims has competed 22 games for Hanabank and boasts averages of 11.9 ppg., 4.4 rpg. and 2.5 apg.