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.
This week saw one significant highlight, the naming of the 25 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team and they are: Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins, Stefanie Dolson, Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Briann January, Jantel Lavender, Jewell Loyd, Kayla McBride, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Chiney Ogwumike, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Candace Parker, Danielle Robinson, Odyssey Sims, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, Courtney Vandersloot and Lindsay Whalen. As such, the weekly roundup will now include the 25 athletes in the running for a trip to Rio in August.
USA and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, along with senior All-American Breanna Stewart and the rest of the No. 1 Huskies are a perfect 19-0 on the season after earning a trio of lopsided victories over the past week. Stewart, who is averaging 19.6 ppg. And 8.4 rpg. this season, achieved another significant milestone last week with her 1000th career rebound, the sixth Husky in history to grab at least 1,000 career caroms. Next up for the Huskies is a game against Memphis at home on Jan. 30.
USA National Team assistant coach Doug Bruno his No. 23/21 Blue Demons (16-6) are on a four-game winning streak, including victories over Creighton (81-63) and Providence (96-50) at home last week. Next up for the Blue Demons is a game against Seton Hall at home in Chicago on Jan. 29.
Also listing an unbeaten record are USA National Team assistant coach Dawn Staley’s No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, who improved to 19-0 with wins at Auburn (74-58) and Mississippi State (57-51) last week. Next up for the Gamecocks is a game tonight (Jan. 28) at home against Ole Miss.
Coming up: Mark Feb. 8 on your calendar. That’s the date that will see the Huskies visit Columbia for a clash against South Carolina at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN2.
Eight USA National Team members are competing on five different EuroLeague teams, including Seimone Augustus and Nneka Ogwumike with Dynamo Kursk (Russia), Jewell Loyd with Galatasaray (Turkey), 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 holiday break, replacing an injured Danielle Robinson.
Two weeks remain on the EuroLeague regular season schedule and teams are fighting for playoff spots as just the top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals. However, there is consolation for the fifth- and sixth-place finishers as those teams will qualify for the EuroCup quarterfinals.
Clinched a quarterfinals berth: Famila Schio, Fenerbahce, Dynamo Kursk, ZVVZ USK Prague, Galatasaray, UMMC Ekaterinburg, Nadezhda Orenburg.
DYNAMO KURSK (8-4):
- Nneka Ogwumike scored 13 points and Seimone Augustus added eight as Dynamo Kursk earned a 66-49 victory over ESBVA-LM (5-7). Kursk is currently sitting in a three-way tie in Group A, along with Beretta Famila Schio and Galatasaray, and has clinched a quarterfinals berth.
- Ogwumike remains second in the EuroLeague field for scoring with 18.0 ppg. and fourth with five double-doubles.
- Final two games: Uniqa Sopron (1-11) on Feb. 3 and Perfumerias Avenida (4-8) on Feb. 10.
- Newly-named to the USA National Team, Jewell Loyd has been turning heads in her first EuroLeague season and is currently averaging 15.5 ppg., 4.4 rpg. and 2.0 apg. for Turkish side Galatasaray, including a 15-point performance in an 81-56 win over Uniqa Sopron (1-11) last week to help clinch a quarterfinals berth.
- Final two games: Perfumerias Avenida (4-8) on Feb. 3 and Fenerbahce (11-1) on Feb. 10.
- Kayla McBride and Nadezhda Orenburg took down Agu Spor (5-7) 75-65 as McBride pitched in eight points, three rebounds and four assists for the quarterfinals-bound Orenburg.
- McBride is averaging 13.4 ppg. and 3.2 apg., while shooting 46.0 percent from the field
- Final two games: Wisla Can-Pack (5-7) on Feb. 3 and Castors Braine (3-9) on Feb. 10.
UMMC EKATERINBURG (10-2):
- Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi picked off Spar CityLift Gorona (3-9) 80-61 behind a double-double and game highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds from Taurasi and 15 points from Griner.
- Still holding the top spot in Group B, Ekat is trailed closely by Nadezhda Orenburg (9-3).
- Scoring at a clip of 20.8 ppg., Taurasi leads all EuroLeague scorers. She also is tops in 3-pointers made per game (3.6), second in fouls drawn per game (5.5) and third in free throws made per game (4.0) and free throw percentage (.906).
- Griner is averaging 12.5 ppg., 7.3 rpg. and 1.9 bpg.
- Final two games: Agu Spor (5-7) on Feb. 3 ad ZVVZ USK Prague (8-4) on Feb. 10.
- Jantel Lavender and Fenerbahce earned a narrow 64-59 victory over Perfumerias Avenida (4-8), outscoring the Spanish club 17-10 in the fourth quarter to earn the victory. Lavender, who is averaging 11.8 ppg. and 8.8 rpg., topped out with 21 points and eight rebounds
- Lavender is averaging 10.9 ppg and 8.9 rpg. through 11 EuroLeague contests.
- Final two games: Famila Schio (8-4) on Feb. 3 and Galatasaray (8-4) on Feb. 10.
ZVVZ USK PRAGUE (8-4):
- Candice Dupree and defending EuroLeague champs ZVVZ USK Prague earned a 75-58 victory over Castors Braine (3-9) behind 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists from Dupree.
- Bringing in Dupree for the injured Robinson has been paying off for Prague, which started the season with a 4-4 record, but has won four straight EuroLeague contests with Dupree on its roster, clinched a quarterfinals berth with today’s victory.
- Dupree is averaging 13.5 ppg. and 4.8 rpg. through three games.
- Final two games: Spar CityLift Gorona (3-9) on Feb. 3 and Ekaterinburg (10-2) on Feb. 10.
The Chinese league has concluded the final pre-playoffs stage and all four teams with USA National Team representation are still alive and in the hunt for the title. Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles have been in China the whole season, Maya Moore joined her team for the third round, while Candace Parker recently signed on to replace Yelena Leuchanka on Guangdong for its playoff run. Leuchanka left to train with the Belarus National Team in February. Quarterfinal play tips-off Feb. 2.
- This marks the first season in China for Tina Charles, who is playing for Xinjiang (9-3), which finished as the No. 1 seed heading into the quarterfinals. Charles, who is averaging 24.0 ppg., and her side will face off against Liaoning (2-10) and American Kara Braxton in the quarterfinals.
- Sylvia Fowles competes for Beijing Great Wall, which finished second in the stage three Group 1 standings with a 7-5 record. She is averaging a league ninth-best 19.1 ppg. and a league sixth-best 11.6 rpg. Fowles and Beijing go up against Maya Moore and Shanxi in the quarterfinals.
- On the books for Shanxi Rui Flame, which finished with a 6-6 mark in Group 2 standings in stage three, 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. Moore is averaging a league-leading 3.3 spg., second-best 28.4 ppg., fifth-best 3.4 apg. and 10th-best 8.3 rpg. As mentioned, Moore will face off against Fowles in the quarterfinals.
- Picked up by Guangdong, which finished with a 2-10 mark in Group 1, stage 3 standings, Candace Parker will play against Shenyang (10-2), which is comprised of all Chinese players, in the quarterfinals.
In addition to the EuroLeague athletes listed above, a three more USA National Team players are competing in the Turkish leagues.
- Stefanie Dolson is competing for Edirnespor (4-12), which was knocked out of the EuroCup playoffs in the round of 16, but is still playing in the Turkish league. Her squad dropped a 74-66 decision to Angel McCoughtry and Mersin (11-5) this week, as Dolson scored 11 points. She is averaging a league 10th-best 0.8 bpg. to go with 13.6 ppg. and 7.6 rpg.
- Angel McCoughtry suits up for Mersin (11-5) and had 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists against Dolson and Edirn this past week. McCoughtry leads the league with 24.9 ppg. and 2.8 spg.
- Courtney Vandersloot played for Orduspor (4-12), which also bowed out of the EuroCup round of 16, but finished her season ranked as the EuroCup assist leader with 6.5 apg. She since transferred clubs and is now on the record with Gelistirenier (7-9), which fell 87-69 to Hatay (12-4) last week. Vandersloot is averaging a league third-best 6.2 apg.