USA Women’s National Team Weekly Update: All Three Collegiate Coaches Win Conference Tournaments
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 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
All three USA National Team coaches and the pair of USA National athletes in the collegiate ranks won their respective conference tournaments last week.
Led by USA National Team head coach Geno Auriemma and with the help of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart, the University of Connecticut upped its record to 32-1 and earned its second-straight American Athletic Conference Tournament crown. Mosqueda-Lewis earned AAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, while Stewart was named to the AAC All-Tournament Team.
USA National Team assistant coach Doug Bruno led his DePaul University team to a second-consecutive Big East Tournament championship to up the Blue Demons’ overall record to 25-7 heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Dawn Staley’s University of South Carolina squad claimed the Gamecocks’ first Southeastern Conference Tournament title in the program’s history after taking down University of Tennessee in the title game, 62-46.
The Huskies will no doubt be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament and all three teams await the bracket announcement coming Monday night.
The 2015 EuroLeague quarterfinals concluded this week and the 2015 EuroLeague Final Four pairings are: Dynamo Kursk vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg and Fenerbahce vs. host ZVVZ USK Prague. The Final Four will be played April 10-12 in Prague, Czech Republic.
UMMC Ekaterinburg advanced to the semifinals in two games. After defeating Nadezhda 81-54 in the first meeting, Ekat sealed the deal in Game 2, 86-75, in Orenburg, Russia. Trailing by a point, 40-39, at halftime, Ekat was up by two points with four minutes to play in the third quarter. But four points apiece from Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi in a 13-0 run to close the period deflated the hosts’ sails as Ekat went up 66-51 with 10 minutes to play. While Nadezhda outscored the visiting team 24-20 in the fourth quarter, time ran out in its upset bid. Taurasi led the charge with 20 points and seven assists, while Parker added 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists, four steals and one blocked shot. Closing the book on their EuroLeague season, DeWanna Bonner scored 23 points and Candice Dupree added 11 for Orenburg.
After winning its first game, Dynamo Kursk was forced into playing a third after being edged in Game 2 by Bourges basket, 64-62. Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the losing side with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Seimone Augustus added 12 points and eight boards. Game 3 was a much different affair. Playing in Russia, Dynamo broke a 12-all tie late in the first period and went on a 11-2 spurt to go up 23-14 at the end of the period. Dynamo kept Bourges Basket at bay the remainder of the contest and rolled through the fourth quarter for the 88-72 victory to punch its semifinal ticket. Augustus and Ogwumike were even more impressive in Game 3. Ogwumike poured in 22 points, grabbed seven boards and dished out six assists; while Augustus notched 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
ZVVZ Prague, with the help of 15 points and five assists from Danielle Robinson, overpowered CB Avenida to pull off a stunning 72-43 upset and advance to the semifinals in two games. In front of its home crowd, Prague forced 22 turnovers and held Avenida to just 33.3 shooting from the field.
Tina Charles and Fenerbahce advanced to the semifinals in a three-game series. After a two-point win over Galatasaray in Game 1, Fener was on the losing side of a 59-57 score against its Turkish rivals in Game 2. However, Fener maded a 63-52 statement this week , running out to a 20-13 advantage after the first quarter and 39-27 lead at the halftime break. Tina Charles, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the second game, came up with 19 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots in the deciding contest.
EuroLeague Stats Leaders
Points: 1. Ogwumike (19.8 ppg.); 2. Taurasi (16.9 ppg.); 3. Lavender (16.8 ppg.); 4. Bonner (16.7 ppg.); 5. McCoughtry (15.3); 6. Charles (15.3 ppg.); 7. Parker (15.1 ppg.); 12. Augustus (13.6 ppg.).
Rebounds: 1. Ogwumike (10.8 rpg.); 2. Parker (10.5 rpg.); 5. Lavender (10.2 rpg.); 12. Charles (7.9 rpg.); 16. Bonner (7.0 rpg.).
Assists: 2. Taurasi (5.9 apg.), 4. Vandersloot (4.4 apg.).
CHINA: Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore Pick Up Honors
Four USA National Team members started the season in China -- Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner and Maya Moore -- but only two remained until the end. 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, who clinched her third-straight title this year.
Following the end of the WCBA Finals, Asia-Basket.com announced its honorees for its awards and All-WCBA teams. Three of the four USA National Team athletes who competed in China this season picked up a slew of honors between them.
2015 WCBA Finals MVP: Maya Moore
2015 WCBA Player of the Year: Maya Moore
2015 WCBA Guard of the Year: Maya Moore
2015 WCBA Center of the Year: Brittney Griner
2015 WCBA Import of the Year: Maya Moore
2015 WCBA Defensive Player of the Year: Brittney Griner
2015 All-WCBA first team: Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore
2015 WCBA All-Imports Team: Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore
Odyssey Sims and Alyssa Thomas suit up for Hanabank, which ended the season on a high note, with a 64-54 victory over the No. 2 team S-Birds (24-11) to finish with a 13-22 record overall. Thomas earned Player of the Week honors after posting 23 points and 18 rebounds in the game. Thomas leads the league in scoring (19.0 ppg.), rebounding (11.1 rpg.) and ranks fourth in assists (3.6 apg.), while shooting 51.7 percent from the field. Sims, meanwhile, averaged 10.4 ppg. and 2.2 apg. this season.
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.