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.Weekly highlights include: Sylvia Fowles captured the China title, Diana Taurasi poured in 26 points to help catapult UMMC Ekaterinburg to the Final Four and Breanna Stewart looks ahead to making a run for her fourth NCAA title.
USA and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, along with senior All-American Breanna Stewart and the rest of the No. 1 Huskies capped the regular season with a perfect 29-0 record and then rolled through the American Athletic Conference Tournament for their third-straight AAC title to up their record to 32-0. Stewart earned her second AAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honor – after also having won it in 2014 – after scoring 22 points and blocking seven shots in the title game. Connecticut’s run to Indy starts with Robert Morris (20-12) on March 19 in Storrs and, should UConn win, the winner of the Seton Hall (23-8) versus Duquesne (27-5) contest on March 21. Stewart is averaging 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.5 blocks per game.
USA National Team assistant coach Doug Bruno his Blue Demons (25-8) head into their 14th-straight NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed that will face No. 11-seed James Madison (27-5) on March 18. Should the Blue Demons win, next up would be the winner between Louisville (25-7) and Central Arkansas (28-3).
USA National Team assistant coach Dawn Staley’s No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks posted a perfect 16-0 record in the Southeastern Conference and then rolled through the SEC Tournament and currently boast a 31-1 record. The Gamecocks play Jacksonville (22-10) on March 18 and, should they advance, will meet the winner of George Washington (26-6) versus Kansas State (18-12) on March 20.
Four teams advanced last week to the EuroLeague semifinals, three of which did so in a sweep, while the Diana Taurasi-led UMMC Ekaterinburg squad went to three games in the series before making it through the quarterfinals. Brittney Griner, Tauarasi and Ekat will face defending champs ZVVZ USK Prague in the April 15 semifinals, while Turkey’s Fenerbahce will take on Russia’s Nadezhda in the other semifinal.
SEMIFINALS (April 15 @ site TBD)
UMMC Ekaterinburg (Griner, Taurasi) vs. ZVVZ USK Prague
Nadezhda Orenburg (McBride) vs. Fenerbahce (Lavender)
DYNAMO KURSK (EuroLeague season concluded):
- Dynamo Kursk was swept in two games by Nadezhda in the quarterfinals to end its EuroLeague season. Seimone Augustus missed the first game, but scored 18 points in the second game. Nneka Ogwumike played in both and averaged 17.5 ppg. and 10.5 rpg.
- Ogwumike is still second in the EuroLeague field for scoring with 17.7 ppg. and fifth for rebounds with 8.96 rpg.
- Russian League: Kursk will continue to play in the Russian league, where it sits in third place in the standings with a 15-4 record.
- Jantel Lavender and Fenerbahce swept Wisla Can-Pack to advance to the Final Four as Lavender averaged 19.5 ppg. and 5.0 rpg. in the two games.
- Lavender scored 26 points against Fener, and is averaging 13.4 ppg and 8.4 rpg., and has scored in double digits in each of the past nine games, including a streak of five games with 18 or more points.
- Turkish League: No. 1 in the standings with a 17-4 record.
GALATASARAY (EuroLeague season concluded)
- Jewell Loyd and Galatasaray fell in the quarterfinals to UMMC Ekaterinburg, but her team is still going strong in the Turkish league. Loyd averaged 12.3 ppg. and 3.0 apg. in the three-game series.
- Turkish League: Gala is 14-6 and in 5th place behind an 18.7 ppg. average from Loyd, which ranks fifth among Turkish league leaders.
- Kayla McBride averaged 14.0 ppg. as Nadezhda Orenburg advanced to the Final Four with a two-game sweep of Dynamo Kursk.
- McBride is averaging 12.9 ppg. and 3.4 rpg.
- Russian League: Nadezhda is 19-1 in Russia league play and second to UMMC Ekaterinburg in the standings.
- It took three games, but Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi helped UMMC Ekaterinburg return to the Final Four after earning wins in the first and third games of the quarterfinals against Jewell Loyd and Galatasaray. Taurasi recorded 18.7 ppg., 6.0 rpg. and 4.7 apg. in the three games, while hitting 18 of 19 attempts from the line. Griner average 10.3 ppg. and 6.7 rpg.
- Ekaterinburg will play ZVVZ USK Prague in the semifinals.
- Scoring at a EuroLeague-leading clip of 20.8 ppg., Taurasi has scored 19 or more points in nine of her past 11 games and has scored at least 30 points twice this season.
- Russian League: Listing a perfect 19-0 record in the Russian league, Ekaterinburg is atop the standings.
China: season concluded
Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles battled it out for the championship in China and Fowles prevailed to help Beijing capture the 2016 China league title in four games of the best-of-five series. Maya Moore and Candace Parker also spent time playing in China this season.
In addition to the EuroLeague athletes listed above, three more USA National Team players are competing in the Turkish league, which has two more weeks to go before the playoffs begin.
- Stefanie Dolson is competing for Edirnespor (6-15), which is in 12th place.
- Angel McCoughtry is leading the league for scoring with 25.2 ppg. and has Mersin (15-5) in third place.
- Courtney Vandersloot played for Orduspor in the EuroCup and 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 (9-14), which is currently in 10th place.