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 how the athletes and coaches are faring in their different programs.
Highlights of this past week include Tina Charles and Candace Parker averaging 22.0 ppg. and 30.0 ppg., respectively, to help their teams sweep their China quarterfinals series and advance to the semifinals. Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore split the best-of-three series and go up against each other on Feb. 6 for the right to advance to the semis.
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 21-0 on the season and riding a 58-game winning streak after earning a pair of lopsided victories over the past week, 83-40 over Memphis and 96-38 over Tulane. Stewart has led the Huskies in scoring 14 games this season and is averaging 19.6 ppg., 8.1 rpg. and 4.3 apg. Next up for the Huskies is a game against East Carolina at home on Feb. 6. Following on the heels of that game will be a clash against No. 2 University of South Carolina and USA assistant coach Dawn Staley in a headlining Big Monday game on ESPN2 (7 pm EST).
USA National Team assistant coach Doug Bruno his No. 24 Blue Demons (17-7) split a pair of games last week, losing to Seton Hall 83-74 and defeating St. John’s 77-71, both of which came at home. Sitting atop the Big East standings with a 9-2 league mark, DePaul will look this weekend to avenge a 64-60 loss to Villanova, which is 7-4 in Big East play. The game is at Villanova on Friday and the Blue Demons continue their road trip with a game at Georgetown on Sunday.
Also listing an unbeaten record are USA National Team assistant coach Dawn Staley’s No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, who improved to 21-0 with wins over Ole Miss, 81-62, and Texas A&M, 70-63, last week. Next up for the Gamecocks is a game tonight (Feb. 4) at home against No. 18 Kentucky, followed by the Feb. 8 contest against Connecticut in Columbia (7 pm EST on ESPN2).
Seven USA National Team members are competing on five different EuroLeague teams, including Seimone Augustus and Nneka Ogwumike with Dynamo Kursk (Russia), 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.
One 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 (9-4):
- Dynamo Kursk had no problems this week, running out to a 31-17 lead after the first 10 minutes and rolling to a 102-68 victory over Uniqa Sopron (1-12). Nneka Ogwumike was nearly perfect, hitting 9-of-10 from inside and finishing with 22 points, eight rebounds, five dimes and a pair of blocked shots in 25 minutes of play; while Seimone Augustus contributed six points and two assists in 11 minutes.
- Kursk remains in in a three-way tie in Group A, along with Beretta Famila Schio and Galatasaray.
- Ogwumike is still second in the EuroLeague field for scoring with 18.3 ppg. and fifth for rebounds with 8.9 rpg. She also ranks first in field goal percentage (.589).
- Final game: Perfumerias Avenida (4-9) on Feb. 10.
- Despite receiving 14 points from Kayla McBride, Nadezhda Orenburg was unable to fight off Wisla Can-Pack (6-7) and dropped a 54-51 contest to the Polish side, which is still fighting for the final quarterfinals position in the group. With the loss, Nadezhda is no longer in contention for the lead spot in Group B.
- McBride is averaging 13.5 ppg. and 3.2 apg., while shooting 46.7 percent from the field
- Final game: Castors Braine (4-9) on Feb. 10.
UMMC EKATERINBURG (11-2):
- Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi helped UMMC Ekaterinburg to a 93-48 victory over Agu Spor (5-8) and solidified the top spot out of Group B. Taurasi led Ekat with 28 points, seven boards and six assists; while Griner added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.
- Scoring at a clip of 21.3 ppg., Taurasi has scored 19 or more points in each of her past seven games and has scored at least 30 points twice this season. She leads all EuroLeague scorers and also is tops in 3-pointers made per game (3.8), second in fouls drawn per game (5.5) and third in free throws made per game (3.9) and free throw percentage (.911), while a league seventh-best 4.5 apg.
- Griner is averaging 12.5 ppg., 7.0 rpg. and 1.8 bpg.
- Final game: ZVVZ USK Prague (8-5) on Feb. 10.
- Jantel Lavender and Fenerbahce dropped their second game of the season, and were defeated 66-60 by Famila Schio. Lavender produced 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the loss.
- Fener’s only other loss this season came in the opening week, a 72-40 stunner against Kursk.
- Lavender is averaging 12.4 ppg and 8.7 rpg., and has scored in double digits in each of the past eight games, including a streak of four games with 18 or more points.
- Final game: Galatasaray (9-4) on Feb. 10.
ZVVZ USK PRAGUE (8-5):
- Candice Dupree and defending EuroLeague champs ZVVZ USK Prague dropped a 54-52 heartbreaker to Uni Girona (4-9). Prague found itself in a 39-20 hole at the half and battled back for a 52-51 lead with 31 seconds remaining, but was unable to keep Girona from scoring in the waning seconds.
- Dupree, who scored in double digits in her first four contest and was averaging 13.5 ppg. during that span, had an off night, hitting just 4-of-12 for nine points to go with two boards and one assist.
- Final game: UMMC Ekaterinburg (11-2) on Feb. 10.
The first two games in the best-of-three quarterfinals round were played last week and three of the four teams swept the series to advance to the semifinals. Tina Charles (Xinjiang) and Candace Parker (Guangdong) have advanced, while Sylvia Fowles (Beijing) and Maya Moore (Shanxi) have each helped their team capture one win each and the deciding game will be played on Feb. 6.
- This marks the first season in China for Tina Charles, who is playing for Xinjiang, the No. 1 seed heading into the quarterfinals. Charles topped out with 30 points and 12 rebounds in the first game, a 79-75 victory, and had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the second, 71-51, win. She will next face Shanghai, featuring Australia’s Liz Cambage, in the semifinals.
- Sylvia Fowles competes for Beijing Great Wall, which lost the first game, 79-65, and came back for an 84-79 win to force a third game. Fowles contributed 35 points and 12 rebounds in the win and 33 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
- On the books for Shanxi Rui Flame 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. After winning the first game of the quarterfinals, Shanxi was unable to hold off Beijing in the second and the two teams will meet again to determine who goes to the semifinals and who will return to the USA. Moore scored a whopping 45 points on 17-of-26 from the field and had eight rebounds in the victory and 29 points and nine boards in the loss.
- Picked up by Guangdong for the quarterfinals, Candace Parker helped power her team past Shenyang and into the semifinals. Parker had 32 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals in a 94-72 win and posted 28 points, eight rebounds and three assists in Guangdong’s 81-76 victory.
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 (4-13), 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 76-67 decision to Botas, as Dolson scored 10 points and pulled in seven rebounds. She is averaging a league 13.4 ppg. and 7.6 rpg. Next up is a game against Canik Bid (8-9) on Feb. 6.
- Angel McCoughtry suits up for Mersin (12-5) and had 27 points, six rebounds and three assists in an 85-67 victory over Istanbul University. McCoughtry leads the league with 25.1 ppg. and 2.7 spg. Next up is a game against Botas (8-9) on Feb. 6.
- Courtney Vandersloot played for Orduspor (4-13), 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 (8-9), which defeated Abeullah Gul (12-5) 74-80 on Jan. 30. “Sloot” scored 26 points on 8-of-10 from the field and had five rebounds and three assists in the win. Next up is a clash against powerhouse Fenerbahce (13-4) on Feb. 6.