USA Women’s National Team Weekly Update: Maya Moore, Shanxi Earn Third-Straight China Title
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.
NCAA: Let the Madness Begin
University of Connecticut
Led by USA National Team head coach Geno Auriemma and with the help of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart, the University of Connecticut finished out the regular season with a 29-1 record, including a perfect 18-0 mark in the American Athletic Conference for the second-straight league title.
The American Tournament gets underway March 6, but before the Huskies take to the floor to defend their AAC Tournament title, many of them were honored with conference accolades, including Mosqueda-Lewis and Stewart, who were named All-American Conference first team. The individual honors, which include AAC Player of the Year and AAC Coach of the Year, will be announced on March 6.
The Huskies earned a first round bye and will face the winner of the March 6 Central Florida versus Cincinnati first round contest.
After leading DePaul to a 23-7 overall record and 15-3 in Big East Conference Play for a share of the regular season title, Doug Bruno’s Blue Demons advance to the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, where they will face in the March 8 quarterfinals the first round winner of the Georgetown versus Xavier game.
University of South Carolina
Dawn Staley was named the 2015 Southeastern Conference Co-Coach of the Year after leading the Gamecocks to a second-straight SEC regular season title, a 27-2 overall record and 15-1 finish in league play. South Carolina earned a bye for the first round of the SEC Tournament and will face the winner of the Ole Miss versus Arkansas contest in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Also announced this week was the Naismith National Coach of the Year semifinalists, which includes both Auriemma and Staley.
CHINA: Maya Moore, Shanxi Take Down Brittney Griner, Beijing for Third-Straight 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 in that round. Battling for the title were Griner and two-time defending champion Moore.
GAME 4: Moore earned yet another title, her third-consecutive WCBA championship with the Shanxi Flame, after scoring 35 points to lead her side to a 72-70 victory over Griner and Beijing Great Wall. Host Beijing, which held a 42-37 advantage at the halftime mark, allowed Shanxi to fight back and take a six-point lead. Shanxi eventually held a 56-52 edge after three quarters and held on for the championship victory. Griner was held to just 10 points.
GAME 3: Shanxi took a 2-1 advantage over Beijing on March 3, winning 76-65 behind an astounding 46-point, 11-rebound, 5-steal performance from Moore. Griner also posted a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Beijing had a 26-6 outburst in the second quarter to go up 43-29 at the midway break, but Shanxi stormed out of the locker room and outscored the Great Wall 28-5 in the third period before closing out the final stanza with a 19-17 advantage for the victory.
GAME 2: On Feb. 28 Moore posted 22 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals to lead Shanxi past Beijing, 63-60, which was led by Griner’s 21 points, 11 boards and six blocked shots.
GAME 1: 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.
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. Game 1 was played March 3, Game 2 is on March 6 and the final game is scheduled for March 11 (if necessary).
Seimone Augustus collected Game 1 Top Performer honors after contributing an impressive 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals as Dynamo Kursk took down Bourges Basket 75-62. Dynamo fell behind 21-17 after the first 10 minutes of play, but went ahead in the second period for a 44-36 edge at halftime and managed to hold Bourges at bay for the remainder of the game. In addition to Augustus, Nnemkadi Ogwumike contributed 13 points and six rebounds.
Behind the stellar play of Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi, UMMC Ekaterinburg earned an 81-54 victory over Nadezhda Orenburg. Parker had 17 points, 11 rebounds, two blocked shots and three steals in 30 minutes of action; while Taurasi scored 12 points and added three boards and a pair of assists in 26 minutes. On the other side of the results, Candice Dupree was her team’s top scorer with 12 points to go with seven rebounds and DeWanna Bonner had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Danielle Robinson dished off to longtime Czech National Team member Jana Vesela with 44 seconds remaining. Vesela’s bucket broke a tie for the game’s final points as ZVVZ USK Prague stunned CB Avenida in Spain 50-48. The win also halted CB Avenida’s seven-game home winning streak. Robinson had eight points, two rebounds and one assist in the win.
In the battle of the Turkish giants, Fenerbahce eked out a 58-56 victory at home behind the play of Quanitra Hollingsworth, who scored 14 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Tina Charles was held to just 3-of-13 shooting from the floor and scored seven points, but grabbed nine boards, dished out a pair of assists and had one steal.
EuroLeague Stats Leaders
Points: 1. Ogwumike (19.9 ppg.); 2. Lavender (16.8 ppg.); 3. Taurasi (16.6 ppg.); 4. Bonner (16.3 ppg.); 5. Parker (15.4 ppg.); 6. McCoughtry (15.3); 7. Charles (15.1 ppg.); 13. Augustus (13.5 ppg.).
Rebounds: 1. Ogwumike (11.1 rpg.); 2. Parker (10.6 rpg.); 5. Lavender (10.2 rpg.); 15. Charles (7.4 rpg.); 16. Bonner (7.2 rpg.).
Assists: 2. Taurasi (5.8 apg.), 4. Vandersloot (4.4 apg.).
2014-15 EuroLeague Standings
|3.||ZVVZ USK Praha||6-6|
|5.||Wisla Can-Pack Krakow||5-7|
|7.||Good Angels Kosice||2-10|
|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 13-23 with one game remaining in the 37-round season. Thomas is averaging league-leading 18.9 ppg. and 10.8 rpg. to go with a fourth-best 3.6 apg. and third-best 1.5 spg. Sims is contributing 11.3 ppg. and 2.3 apg.
The team defeated Winnus (6-30) 86-73 on March 5 as Thomas shouldered the weight of her team with 22 points and 13 rebounds. On Feb. 28 the team defeated KB Stars 88-61 (19-16) behind a 14-point, 12-rebound output from Thomas, while Sims saw limited playing time.
AUSTRALIA: Concluded for USA National Team Athlete
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.