USA Women’s National Team Weekly Update: EuroLeague Quarterfinal Pairings Set, Ogwumike Nabs Fifth Weekly Honor
Two 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team members currently are competing in China, 11 are in the EuroLeague, three are on teams that competed 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. Additionally, three of the four members of the USA National Team coaching staff are coaching collegiate teams.
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, EuroLeague, Australia, South Korea and EuroCup. Check back weekly to see how each player is progressing through the season.
University of Connecticut
USA National Team head coach Geno Auriemma, with the help of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart, not only earned the No. 1 spot in the nation last week following the Huskies victory over South Carolina, but also bumped its record to 25-1, including 14-0 in the American Athletic Conference.
Last week Mosqueda-Lewis became just the 15th NCAA Division I women’s basketball player to notch 350 career made 3-point field goals and needs just 24 more to break into the top 10. She also leads the country for 3-point field goal percentage with an even 50.0 percent. Mosqueda-Lewis broke Diana Taurasi’s UConn record for 3-point field goals made last month and continues to increase the record. She now has 352 made 3-pointers for her career.
Stewart, the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, also performs well in the classroom. She was named to the five-member CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
Auriemma owns a career winning percentage of .8709 (904-134), which is tops among all-time NCAA Division I women’s basketball coaches. On Dec. 27 he surpassed former Louisiana Tech head coach Leon Barmore’s mark of .8688 (576-87). He also currently ranks fifth among all-time winningest coaches by victories, trailing Pat Summit (1098), Sylvia Hatchell (955), C. Vivian Stringer (947) and Tara VanDerveer (947).
Stewart, who picked up her 100th victory in a Husky uniform last week, is averaging a team-leading 16.5 ppg. to go with 6.4 rpg., 3.1 apg., 2.2 bpg. and 1.8 spg.; while Mosqueda-Lewis is scoring at a clip of 13.8 ppg., while notching 4.3 rpg. and 2.8 apg.
Doug Bruno has coached the DePaul Blue Demons to a 20-7 overall record, including a 12-3 mark in Big East Conference play. The Blue Demons are a half game ahead of Seton Hall in the Big East standings. DePaul closes out the season at Creighton (2/20), at Providence (2/22) and against Marquette (3/1).
University of South Carolina
After its lone loss to Connecticut on Feb. 9, No. 2 South Carolina and Dawn Staley bounded back to collect a pair of victories last week: 86-62 against LSU and 89-59 over Vanderbilt. Three of Staley’s final four opponents of the season are ranked, including No. 6 Tennessee (2/23), No. 14 Mississippi State (2/26) and No. 11 Kentucky (3/1).
CHINA: Finals Pit Griner & Moore in Clash for Title
Four USA National Team members started the season in China -- Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner and Maya Moore -- but only two remain. Dupree’s team did not advance to the second round and has since moved to Russia to compete for Nadezhda Orenburg. Fowles made it to the quarterfinals, but was ousted last week. Remaining in the title hunt are Griner and two-time defending champion Moore. The first game of the WCBA Finals will be contested on Feb. 26.
Griner’s Beijing squad and Moore’s Shanxi team faced each other six times over the course of the season and Shanxi holds a 4-2 edge in those games. Four contests were decided by eight points or fewer, while Shanxi got a 12-point win and Beijing took a 22-point win, both of which were early in the season. Expect it to be a battle to the end.
EUROLEAGUE WEEK 14
The 2015 EuroLeague quarterfinal pairings came out following this week’s games and Dynamo Kursk (10-2) will face Tango Bourges Basket (9-5), UMMC Ekaterinburg (10-2) meets up with Nadezhda (10-4) CB Avenida (10-4) will take on ZVVZ USK Prague (6-6) and Fenerbahce (11-3) will go up against Turkish rival Galatasaray (5-7) in the best of three series. Games will be played March 3, March 6 and March 11 (if necessary).
Nnemkadi Ogwumike notched her league-leading 10th double-double on the season with 21 points and 10 boards to go with a team-best seven assists, two steals and a blocked shot and earned her fifth weekly ‘EuroLeague Top Performer’ honor.
Bye Week: Good Angels Kosice (2-10)
It seems Dynamo Kursk has UMMC Ekaterinburg’s number. At least when it counts in close EuroLeague games. The only team to hand Ekat a loss this season in EuroLeague play was Kursk, which took a narrow 78-77 victory on Dec. 18 in Ekaterinburg. The teams closed out regular season play in Kursk this week and the hosts eked out another one-point victory, 74-73. Seimone Augustus and Ogwumike combined for 38 points and 16 rebounds. On the losing end, Candace Parker tallied 17 points and 17 rebounds, while Diana Taurasi pitched in 16 points, four boards and four assists. However, the UMMC duo combined for nine of their team’s 16 turnovers, while four of Kursk’s miscues came from Augustus and Ogwumike.
In a tight contest that saw 13 lead changes and six knotted scores, it came down to the wire. Taurasi sent in a 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining to lift her team to a 73-72 edge. Kursk called a timeout and put Ogwumike, who went to the bench with her fourth foul with 17 seconds on the clock, back in the game with 12 seconds on the clock. Eight seconds later she dished out her seventh assist to USA teammate Augustus, who hit a jumper to give Kursk a 74-73 lead in what would be the game’s final points.
According to FIBAEurope.com, “With just three seconds to play, Ekaterinburg struggled to get the ball back into Taurasi's hands and turned the ball over as Kursk hung on for a fourth-straight EuroLeague win.”
UMMC Ekaterinburg is still undefeated at 14-0 in the Russian league, while Dynamo Kursk is in third place with an 11-3 mark.
In need of a win if they were to advance to the quarterfinals, Danielle Robinson and ZVVZ USK Prague outscored BLMA 40-29 in the second half to clinch a 77-72 victory and a playoff berth. Robinson contributed 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the win.
Wisla Can-Pack, which features Jantel Lavender and Courtney Vandersloot on its roster, was also in need of a victory to keep its EuroLeague season alive. However, a 21-10 third quarter spurt by Galatasaray helped propel the reigning champs to a 63-54 victory and ended Wisla’s playoff hopes. Lavender posted a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds in 38 minutes, while Vandersloot had eight points, four assists and four steals in the loss. The duo still have a chance to help Wisla claim the Polish title. They’re currently undefeated at 18-0 in PLKK play.
With one week remaining in EuroLeague play, the advancing teams from Group B were finalized and this week’s games were simply for group ranking.
DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree teamed up to help Nadezhda Orenburg to a 64-56 upset over Tina Charles and Fenerbahce. Bonner finished with 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals; while Dupree added a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards for the home team. Charles was held to 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field and had six rebounds.
Playing for pride only, Agü Spor ground out a 76-64 victory over BK IMOS Brno to close out its 2014-15 EuroLeague season. Lindsay Whalen played just eight minutes and chipped in four points, one assist and one steal.
EuroLeague Stats Leaders
Points: 1. Ogwumike (20.5 ppg.); 2. Taurasi (17.0 ppg.); 3. Lavender (16.8 ppg.); 4. Bonner (16.8 ppg.); 6. Charles (15.8 ppg.); 9. Parker (15.3 ppg.); 17. Augustus (13.1 ppg.).
Rebounds: 1. Ogwumike (11.5 rpg.); 2. Parker (10.6 rpg.); 4. Lavender (10.2 rpg.); 17. Charles (7.3 rpg.); 18. Bonner (6.9 rpg.).
Assists: 2. Taurasi (6.2 apg.), 6. Vandersloot (4.4 apg.).
2014-15 EuroLeague Standings
GROUP A Final Standings
|3.||ZVVZ USK Praha||6-6|
|5.||Wisla Can-Pack Krakow||5-7|
|7.||Good Angels Kosice||2-10|
GROUP B Final Standings
|2.||Nadezhda Orenburg Region||10-4|
|3.||Club Baloncesto Avenida||10-4|
|4.||Tango Bourges Basket||9-5|
|5.||Agü Spor Kulübü||7-7|
|6.||Beretta Famila Schio||6-8|
|8.||BK IMOS Brno||0-14|
After starting the season 2-6, Cappie Pondexter and the Dandedong Rangers (12-9) dropped its final game of the season to Adelaide (7-15), 89-71, despite a 17-point, 9-rebound effort from Pondexter.
Playing alongside former Phoenix Mercury teammate Penny Taylor, Pondexter is averaging 16.4 ppg., 5.6 rpg. and 4.1 apg. Taylor is putting up a league second-best 20.2 ppg., as well as 6.5 rpg. and 3.1 apg.
The Rangers take on Sydney Uni Flames in the semifinals on Feb. 21.
Odyssey Sims and Alyssa Thomas suit up for Hanabank, which is currently 9-23 through its first 32 games of the 37-round season. The team dropped a pair of games last week, losing to S-Birds (20-11) 68-56 on Feb. 16 and 73-58 to Woori Hansae (26-5) on Feb. 14.
Thomas is averaging league-leading 18.6 ppg. and 10.5 rpg. to go with a fourth-best 3.6 apg. and fourth-best 1.3 spg. Sims is contributing 11.3 ppg. and 2.3 apg.
EUROCUP: Concluded for USA National Team Athletes
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 were 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. Three USA National Team athletes competed in the EuroCup this season and after last week, none remain in the title hunt.
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 been 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 9-5 and sitting in fourth place behind undefeated UMMC Ekaterinburg (13-0), Nadezhda Orenburg (11-2) and Dynamo Kursk (10-3). Dolson is averaging 10.7 ppg. and 4.2 rpg. in the 11 Russia League games in which she has competed.
Bria Hartley and Kayla McBride:
After starting the year with a perfect 8-0 record, Hartley, McBride and Hungary’s UE Sopron (8-2) were handed their first two EuroCup losses of the season by Maccabi Bnot Ashdod (9-1) in the EuroCup quarterfinals, 87-60 and 78-77, and bow out of EuroCup competition. However, they are still competing in the Hungarian league and lead the country with a 14-1 record, ahead of Györ (11-4) and Pésci (11-4).
In EuroCup action, McBride averaged a team-high of 17.1 ppg. to go with 6.2 rpg., while Hartley contributed 12.0 ppg., 4.1 rpg. and 3.2 apg.