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 is publishing weekly updates on what the athletes and coaches are doing with their different programs.
The European leagues took a two-week break for the holidays and the college schedule also saw a little bit of a lag in games to allow athletes and coaches spend time with loved ones, but games have ramped back up and we’re looking forward to some excellent competition en route to various league titles in the coming months.
Highlights of the past two weeks include Maya Moore making her first appearance in China this season – her presence definitely was welcome for the three-time defending champion Shanxi Flames, which is 3-3 since Moore’s return; Breanna Stewart earned the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Week award; and DeWanna Bonner and Kayla McBride for Nadezhda (Russia) took down Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi of UMMC Ekaterinburg in Euroleague play.
USA and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, along with senior All-American Stewart and the rest of the No. 1 Huskies are a perfect 12-0 on the season after downing LSU 86-40, then-No. 6/5 Maryland 83-73 and Cincinnati 107-45 over the holidays, as well as a 95-35 victory on Jan. 6 over Tulsa. Stewart currently ranks third on UConn’s all-time scoring list with 2,194 career points, having recently surpassed former USA Basketball gold medalists Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Nykehsa Sales. Stewart, who is averaging 21.3 ppg. this season, is now trailing only Olympic and World Championship gold medalists Tina Charles (2,346) and Moore (3,036). Next up for the Huskies is a game against Houston in Texas on Jan. 8.
USA National Team assistant coach Doug Bruno, who is celebrating 30 years at DePaul, and his No. 24/25 Blue Demons (11-5) went 4-1 since Dec. 19. Highlighting his past four wins was a 77-64 victory over local rival and then-No. 12/13 Northwestern. Next up for the Blue Demons is a game against Big East foe Georgetown at home on Jan. 8.
Also listing an unbeaten record are USA National Team assistant coach Dawn Staley’s No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, who improved to 13-0 over the break after defeating East Carolina 88-57, Elon 78-63 and and Arkansas 85-32. Up next for the Gamecocks is a game against Vanderbilt in Tennessee on Jan. 7.
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 Candice Dupree joined defending EuroLeague champs ZVVZ USK Prague (Czech Republic) over the break, replacing an injured Danielle Robinson.
DYNAMO KURSK (6-3):
- Seimone Augustus, Nneka Ogwumike and Dynamo Kursk topped Galatasaray 75-60 on Jan. 7.
- Ogwumike, who is second in the EuroLeague field for scoring with 18.8 ppg., added 30 points, 11 rebounds three assists and three steals while shooting an incredible 81.0 percent in the win.
- Next Up: Famila Schio (6-3) in Italy on Jan. 14.
- In a battle between the top two placed teams in Group B, DeWanna Bonner, Kayla McBride and Nadezhda (7-2) pulled off an upset over the talent-stocked UMMC Ekaterinburg (7-2) to pull even in Group B standings.
- Bonner is leading her team with 16.3 ppg. and 9.6 rpg., while McBride is a close second in scoring at 14.4 ppg.
- Next Up: ZVVZ USK Prague (5-4) in the Czech Republic on Jan. 13.
UMMC EKATERINBURG (7-2):
- Brittney Griner and Diana Taursi, along with their UMMC Ekaterinburg (7-2) teammates took on Russia league rivals Nadezhda (7-2) and lost 84-74, despite 19 points in the game from Taurasi.
- Scoring at a clip of 19.0 ppg., Taurasi leads all EuroLeague scorers. She also is tops in 3-pointers made per game (2.9), second in fouls drawn per game (5.7) and third in free throws made per game (3.9) and free throw percentage (.897).
- Griner is averaging 13.7 ppg., 8.3 rpg. and 1.8 bpg.
- Next Up: Wisla Can-Pack (5-4) at home on Jan. 14.
- Jantel Lavender and Fenerbahce (8-1) remain atop Group A after slipping past Good Angels Kosice (3-6) 67-58 in Slovakia. Lavender finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
- 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 members Crystal Langhorne had a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds and Shenise Johnson scored 10 points for Kosice.
- Next Up: Entente Sportive B. Villeneuve D’Ascq (5-4) on Jan. 13.
ZVVZ USK PRAGUE (5-4):
- Candice Dupree and defending EuroLeague champs ZVVZ USK Prague (5-4) earned a 10-point 75-65 victory over Tango Bourges Basket (3-6) after a powerful 13-3 game-closing run. Dupree was one of four USK players to score in double digits, contributing 14 points in her opener with the club.
- Former USA Basketball gold medalist on the junior level, Kia Vaughn also scored 14 points in the win.
- Next Up: Nadezhda (7-2) at home on Jan. 13.
The 2015-16 EuroCup preliminary rounded concluded prior to the holiday break, and 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 eight. The winners of that round will combine with four teams from the EuroLeague for the quarterfinals, and from there, the semifinals and finals will be played in a knockout format. Playoffs continue Jan. 14.
- Stefanie Dolson returned to Turkey and is competing for Edirnespor (5-2), which locked up a Group C second-place finish to advance to the round of 16 to face Group F No. 1 seed Basket Landes (5-2). In the first of the two-game series, Edirnespor earned a 68-61 win against Basket Landes at home as Dolson added eight points and eight rebounds.
- In EuroCup play this season, Cappie Pondexter is signed with Turkey’s Besiktas JK (4-3) and averaged 21.0 ppg. to help her club to a second-place finish in Group B and a spot in the round of 16 against Istanbul Universitesi (6-1), the top finisher from Group D. Playing the first game at home, Besiktas won 82-68 against Istanbul Universitesi as Pondexter scored a game-high 25 points.
- Also playing in Turkey is Courtney Vandersloot, who is suiting up for Orduspor (4-3) and averaging 17.0 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and a EuroCup-leading 6.5 apg. Earning the second spot out of Group B, Orduspor drew Group F’s No. 2 seed Basketball Nymburk (5-2). Vandersloot and Orduspor lost game one at home 76-72.
The Chinese league is into the third 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. Her team boasts a 4-3 record in stage three contests. Charles is currently averaging a league third-best 24.3 ppg. and a league fourth-best 11.7 rpg. Charles and Xinjiang fell to fellow USA Women’s National Team member Sylvia Fowles and Beijing Great Wall 73-60 on Jan. 7. Charles contributed nine points and 13 rebounds.
- Sylvia Fowles played last season for the Shanghai Octopus and is this year is competing for Beijing Great Wall, which is currently 6-1 in the third stage standings. She is averaging 19.0 ppg. and a league fifth-best 11.6 rpg. In her most recent game she led her team with 22 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in a 73-60 win over Charles and Xinjiang on Jan. 7.
- On the books for Shanxi Rui Flame (4-3) for her fourth-straight season is Maya Moore, who took the first part of the season off and returned in time for the third stage. She picked up where she left off last season, posting big numbers in her team’s past seven games and is currently averaging a league-best 29.4 ppg. and league-high 3.4 spg. In her most recent game, Moore contributed an eye-popping 43 points and 12 rebounds in a 89-79 win against Bayi.
France & Turkey
In addition to the EuroLeague and EuroCup athletes listed above, a few more USA National Team players are 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 6-4 mark in French league play. She is currently averaging 10.6 ppg. and despite an 11-point performance, her squad fell to Lattes Montpellier 72-61 on Dec. 19 prior to the break. Her team takes on Lyon (6-4) on Jan. 9.
- Bria Hartley and Angel McCoughtry suit up for Mersin (9-4) in Turkey. In its most recent game, despite 33 points, 10 rebounds and five assists from McCoughtry and 10 points from Hartley, their team dropped a 77-72 contest to Hatay (9-4) on Jan. 3. McCoughtry is contributing a league-high 25.2 ppg. to go with 7.9 rpg. and 3.6 apg., while Hartley is averaging 14.9 ppg. and 4.3 apg.