Keeping Up With USA National Team Members & Staff Around the Globe
With USA Basketball Women’s National Team members and staff competing worldwide, it can be difficult to keep up with how everyone is faring with their various teams. However, throughout the 2015-16 season, USA Basketball will publish weekly updates on what the athletes and coaches are doing with their different programs.
Highlights of the past week include Sylvia Fowles earning China Player of the Week honors after posting 29 points and 16 rebounds in a 10-point victory over Shanxi; Diana Taurasi helping Ekaterinburg to another victory after her second-best scoring output of the season with 30 points; and Courtney Vandersloot helping her team to victory and remaining the EuroCup assist leader with 6.5 assists a game.
USA and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, along with senior All-American Stewart and the rest of the No. 1 Huskies are a perfect 8-0 on the season after downing then-No. 11/9 Florida State 73-49 on Dec. 11. USA National Team member Breanna Stewart, who is averaging 22.1 ppg. and 8.1 rpg. this season, has finished as her team’s high scorer in six games, including pouring in a season-high of 29 points at DePaul. Stewart is also shooting a blistering 62.6 percent (67-107 FGs) from the field and 82.2 percent (37-45 FTs) from the foul line. Next up for the Huskies is a game at home against LSU (6-4) on Dec. 21.
USA National Team assistant coach Doug Bruno, who is celebrating 30 years at DePaul, and his No. 16/15 Blue Demons (7-4) split a pair of games last week, taking down then-No. 15/16 Texas A&M 80-66, before dropping a 88-79 game to South Dakota State (9-2). Next up for DePaul is a clash against No. 12/13 Northwestern (9-0) on Dec. 19.
Also listing an unbeaten record are USA National Team assistant coach Dawn Staley’s No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, who improved to 10-0 last week after defeating Winthrop (2-7) 86-37 and Hampton (1-8) 86-48. Next up for South Carolina is a Dec. 20 contest versus East Carolina (6-3).
Eight USA National Team members are competing on five different EuroLeague teams, including Seimone Augustus and Nneka Ogwumike with Dynamo Kursk (Russia), DeWanna Bonner and Kayla McBride for Nadezhda (Russia), Brittney Griner joined Diana Taurasi with UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia), Jantel Lavender is competing for Fenerbahce (Turkey), and Danielle Robinson returned to defending EuroLeague champs ZVVZ USK Prague (Czech Republic).
This week marked the final games prior to the league breaking for the holidays. Games start back up on Jan. 5, 2016.
DYNAMO KURSK (5-3):
- Seimone Augustus, Nneka Ogwumike and Dynamo Kursk dropped a 66-56 contest against Group A leader Fenerbahce (7-1) in Turkey and are now in a three-way tie for second place with a 5-3 mark. Agustus and Ogwumike were held to just 10 and eight points, respectively, while Jantel Lavender scored 14 points for Fener.
- The game against Fener marked Ogwumike’s lowest scoring game of the season, and the duo combined to shoot just 9-of-27 from the field.
- Ogwumike, who was leading the EuroLeague field for scoring in the past week with 18.7 ppg., dropped to third with a 17.4 ppg. average.
- Next Up: Galatasaray (5-3) at home on Jan. 7, 2016.
- DeWanna Bonner, Kayla McBride and Nadezhda narrowly escaped with a 59-56 victory over Spar CityLift Girona (1-7) after Girona closed the gap with a 18-9 fourth quarter advantage. Bonner posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds to go with three steals, while McBride scored nine points.
- Bonner is leading her team with 15.5 ppg. and 9.4 rpg., while McBride is a close second in scoring at 14.5 ppg.
- Next Up: Russia league rival UMMC Ekaterinburg (7-1) in Ekaterinburg on Jan. 7, 2016.
UMMC EKATERINBURG (7-1):
- Brittney Griner and Diana Taursi helped Ekat (7-1) to another close victory at home after downing Tango Bourges Basket (3-5) 69-63. The game, which was close throughout, saw Taurasi pour in 30 points – her second-best scoring outpout of the season – and grab eight rebounds, while Griner scored nine points, grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and had two blocked shots.
- Notable: Ekat’s past four victories were decided by six points or fewer.
- Scoring at a clip of 19.0 ppg., Taurasi leads all EuroLeague scorers and she’s also tops in 3-pointers made per game (2.9), fouls drawn per game (5.9) and free throws made per game (4.4), while her 89.7 percent accuracy from the line ranks No. 2.
- Griner is averaging 14.4 ppg., 8.6 rpg. and 1.6 bpg.
- Next Up: Russia league rival Nadezhda (6-2) at home on Jan. 7.
- Jantel Lavender and Fenerbahce (7-1) remain atop Group A after defeating Dynamo Kursk (5-3) 66-56 at home this past week. Lavender contributed 14 points as Fener played a seven-person rotation.
- Notable: Former DePaul standout and sister to 2015 USA U16 National Team assistant coach Samantha Quigley, Allie Quigley scored 10 points and former USA Basketball Junior National Team member Marissa Coleman scored 11 points in the win.
- Next Up: Good Angels Kosice (3-5) in Slovakia on Jan. 6.
ZVVZ USK PRAGUE (4-4):
- Danielle Robinson and defending EuroLeague champs ZVVZ USK Prague (4-4) were edged 77-75 by AguSpor (5-3), despite 18 points and 12 rebounds by former USA Junior National Team member Kia Vaughn, the 2015 EuroLeague Final Four MVP. Robinson’s playing time this season has been limited and she saw just 5:23 of action against AguSpor. Another former USA Basketball gold medalist, Janel McCarville, had 10 points and six rebounds against ZVVA USK.
- Next Up: Bourges Basket (3-5) in France on Jan. 6.
The 2015-16 EuroCup preliminary rounded concluded this week as 16 teams advanced to the round of 16. All playoff rounds are two-game series (home and away) with the aggregate score of the two games determining which team advances to the next round. The winners of the round of 16 advance to the round of 8. The winners of that round will combine with four teams from the EuroLeague for the quarterfinals and from there, the seimfinals and finals will be played in a knockout format. Playoffs tip-off Jan. 7, 2016.
- Stefanie Dolson returned to Turkey and is competing for Edirnespor (4-2), which locked up a Group C second-place finish and a slot in the round of 16 with a 97-94 double-overtime victory over BC Chevekata (3-3) in a must-win game in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. Dolson, who is averaging 12.0 ppg. and 10.3 rpg. in EuroCup games, was held to six points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field, but hauled in 12 rebounds.
- In EuroCup play this season, Cappie Pondexter is signed with Turkey’s Besiktas JK (3-3) and leads all EuroCup scorers, averaging 21.0 ppg. to help her club to a second-place finish in Group B and a spot in the round of 16. Besiktas dropped its game this week to Adana Aski SC (2-4) 91-82, as Pondexter contributed 11 points and eight rebounds.
- Also playing in Turkey is Courtney Vandersloot, who is suiting up for Orduspor (4-2) and averaging 17.0 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and a EuroCup-leading 6.5 apg. This week she aided her team to an 87-68 victory over Udominate Basket (0-6) and contributed 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Orduspor finished in a three-way tie in Group B with Dynamo Moscow (4-2) and TTT Riga (4-2).
The Chinese league is into the second stage and all three teams with USA National Team representation are still alive and in the hunt for the title.
- This marks the first season in China for Tina Charles, who is playing for Xinjiang (16-4) and averaging a league second-best 25.4 ppg., while adding a fifth-best 11.2 rpg. She helped her team to a 2-0 week, and in her two games last week Charles aided Xinjiang to an 88-62 victory over Shenyang (8-12) with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and to an 83-72 win against Shanghai (16-4) with 23 points and six rebounds.
- Sylvia Fowles played last season for the Shanghai Octopus and is this year is competing for Beijing Great Wall (14-8). She is averaging a league fifth-best 20.3 ppg. and fourth-best 11.4 rpg. She led her team to a pair of victories last week, a 76-64 final over Guangdong (13-7) with 17 points and eight boards, and an 86-76 victory over Shanxi (9-13) with a 29-point, 16-rebound outburst, which earned Fowles Player of the Week honors.
- On the books for Shanxi Rui Flame (9-13) for her fourth-straight season is Maya Moore, who took the first part of the season off and will soon join her team to help the Flame fight for its fourth-consecutive China championship.
France & Turkey
In addition to the athletes listed above in the EuroLeague and EuroCup, there are a few more USA National Team athletes competing in the French and Turkish leagues.
- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is suiting up for Flammes Carolo in Charleville, France and, has helped her team to a 6-3 mark in French league play. She is averaging 10.6 ppg. and 1.8 apg. over the nine games. She had 12 points and three rebounds in an 83-56 victory over Nantes this past week.
- Bria Hartley and Angel McCoughtry suit up for Mersin (5-3) in Turkey. The team dropped a 76-67 game against EuroLeague team Galatasaray (6-2) last week despite 28 points, nine boards and five assists from McCoughtry, and 12 points from Hartley. Hartley is averaging 17.0 ppg. and 3.5 apg.; while McCoughtry is contributing a league-high 27.1 ppg. to go with 8.0 rpg., 3.0 apg. and 2.9 spg.