USA Women’s National Team Weekly Update: Griner Takes Game 1 vs. Moore in China
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, South Korea, Australia 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, has the University of Connecticut standing with a 27-1 record, including an unblemished 16-0 mark in American Athletic Conference play.
The Huskies have overpowered opponents by a margin of 41.1 points per game and have outrebounded foes an average of 11.9 rebounds a game. Stewart is leading the pack with 16.9 ppg. to go with 6.7 rpg., 3.1 apg, 2.4 bpg. and 1.6 spg.; while Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 14.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 2.8 apg., while netting 3.1 3-pointers per game.
Over the past week Stewart picked up her third American Player of the Week honor and was also named to the 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-America second team.
The Huskies have two more games on the schedule, Feb. 28 versus Memphis and March 2 at South Florida, before the AAC Tournament tips off March 6.
Picking up a pair of wins last week, Doug Bruno has coached the DePaul Blue Demons to a 22-7 overall record, including a 14-3 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 against Marquette on March 1 and the Big East Tournament begins on March 7.
University of South Carolina
After its lone loss to Connecticut on Feb. 9, No. 2 South Carolina and Dawn Staley have won four straight, including a 71-66 victory over No. 6 Tennessee on Feb. 23, and are 26-1 overall and 13-0 in Southeastern Conference play. The Gamecocks close the season against Mississippi State tonight and Kentucky on March 1. The SEC Tournament gets underway March 4.
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, pitted against each other in the finals.
The WCBA Finals tipped-off on Feb. 26 with Beijing collecting a 75-61 victory in Game 1 with the help of 18 points and nine rebounds from Griner. Moore scored more than half of her team’s points and hit a double-double of 32 points and 11 rebounds, but to no avail. Holding a 33-25 halftime lead, Beijing upped its lead to 10 points midway through the third period, 42-32. Shanxi fought back and pulled to 49-46 at the quarter break, but Beijing surged ahead in the fourth quarter for the win.
EUROLEAGUE: Off Week
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).
Dynamo Kursk (Isil Alben, Seimone Augustus, Anete Jekabsone, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Irina Osipova, Epiphanny Prince)
Tango Bourges Basket (Johanna Leedham, Celine Dumerc, Endene Miyem, Marianna Tolo)
UMMC Ekaterinburg (Sandrine Gruda, Olga Arteshina, Candace Parker, Diana Tauarsi, Kristi Toliver, Alba Torrens)
Nadezhda Orenburg (DeWanna Bonner, Anna Cruz, Candice Dupree, Marina Kuziona)
CB Avenida (Marta Fernandez, Anna Montanana, Eshaya Murphy, Angelica Robinson, Marta Xargay)
ZVVZ USK Prague (Danielle Robinson, Kia Vaughn, Laia Palau, Jana Vesela, Eva Viteckova)
Advantage: CB Avenida
Fenerbahce (Agnieszka ‘Biba’ Bibrzycka, Tina Charles, Quanitra Hollingsworth, Astou Ndour, Birsel Vardarli Demirmen)
Galatasaray (Sancho Lyttle, Nevriye Yilmaz)
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
Odyssey Sims and Alyssa Thomas suit up for Hanabank, which picked up a pair of victories last week to up their record to 11-23 with three games remaining in the 37-round season. 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. The team’s most recent victory was a 65-59 win over top-ranked Woori Hansae (28-6) as Thomas had 23 points and 16 rebounds, wile Sims shot 4-of-4 in eight minutes and finished with eight points.
AUSTRALIA: Concluded for Cappie Pondexter
Despite receiving 27 points and three assists from Cappie Pondexter, the Dandedong Rangers (12-9) fell to the Sydney Uni Flames 89-80 in the Australian semifinals to end their season. Pondexter averaged 17.0 ppg., 5.5 rpg. and 4.0 apg. for Dandedong.
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 are 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 9-7 and sitting in fourth place behind undefeated UMMC Ekaterinburg (16-0), Nadezhda Orenburg (14-2) and Dynamo Kursk (12-3). 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 bowed out of EuroCup competition. However, they are still competing in the Hungarian league and lead the country with a 16-1 record, ahead of Györ (12-5) and Pésci (12-5).
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.