Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Monday, August 25, 2014

USA Basketball: Hartley and Chiney Ogwumike Added to USA 2014-16 Training Pool

( Guru note: USA's official announcement used in parts for this post. )

By Rob Knox (@knoxrob1)

Two of the WNBA’s top rookies this season have been added to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team training camp roster.

Four-time USA Basketball gold medalist Bria Hartley of the Washington Mystics and three-time USA Basketball gold medalist Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun will join a roster that includes a pool of 27 of the best women’s basketball players on the planet.

Both Hartley and Ogwumike were fan favorites and emerged as leaders of their respective teams this season.

The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s National Team will begin its fall training camp in defense of the USA’s FIBA World Championship title on Sept. 8 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

“Bria Hartley and Chiney Ogwumike were both invited to the USA National Team training camp last fall, but were unable to make it,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball women’s national team director and member of the selection committee. “They have remained on the committee's radar and with their USA Basketball international experience and play this season in the WNBA, the committee felt that we should extend an invitation to continue their involvement with the USA National Team.”

Hartley first won gold with the 2010 USA U18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, then collected gold medals playing for USA Basketball at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, 2012 FIBA 3x3 World Championship and 2013 World University Games.

She is a two-time NCAA champion with the University of Connecticut. The No. 7 pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, Hartley averaged 9.7 points and 3.1 assists in the 2014 WNBA season and aided the Mystics to the Eastern Conference semifinals where they dropped two tough games to the Indiana Fever.

In addition to her fearless play during the game, Hartley earned a reputation as an ankle-breaking queen. One of her moves from earlier in the season when she made a defender fall down was featured on SportsCenter's Top 10.

Ogwumike teamed up with Hartley to win gold on the 2010 USA U18 National Team and 2012 USA 3x3 World Championship Team, and she captured her third gold medal at the 2011 World University Games.

The No. 1 pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft and 2014 WNBA All-Star averaged 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game during the 2014 season and is a two-time (May, June) WNBA Rookie of the Month award winner.

Norristown native Geno Auriemma, 2013-16 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach, is delighted to have a pair of familiar faces on his roster.

He coached Hartley for four years and they won two NCAA championships together in 2013 and 2014.

She started her UConn career making key contributions to the Huskies’ NCAA-record 90-game winning streak and concluded her time in Storres with a 46-game winning streak.

Earlier this year, Hartley’s Huskies defeated Ogwumike’s Stanford squad in the Final Four in Nashville. Ogwumike is a front runner of the Rookie of the Year honors.

“Coming out of college last year, two of the best players in college basketball, they distinguished themselves over four years playing at the highest level and now they’ve gone onto play in the WNBA as rookies,” Auriemma said.

“With Chiney in Connecticut, I’ve had a chance to follow her progress. She’s been absolutely amazing and no one competes harder than Chiney does. Bria’s gone to Washington and played a great role in helping them make the playoffs this year with such a young roster that they have.

"So, I’m excited about the possibility of having both of them in the camp. I know both of them really wanted to be there last fall and couldn’t, so this is a great opportunity for them and I’m looking forward to seeing them out there.”

Former Temple star Candice Dupree of the Phoenix Mercury and former Delaware star Elena Delle Donne are also in the group.

Athletes invited to participate in the fall training camp in hopes of being named to the 2014 USA World Championship Team include: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury),Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Hartley, Briann January (Indiana Fever), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Chiney Ogwumike, Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars), Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) and Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx).

Athletes listed above who are not participating in the WNBA Finals will begin training camp Sept. 8-10 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. WNBA teams still in the playoff hunt include the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever in the East and Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury in the West.

The final 12-member, 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team will be named prior to the start of the FIBA World Championship, which will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.

Hartley and Ogwumike were extended an invitation to join the USA National Team by theUSA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which will also select the 2014 USA World Championship Team.

“The 27 who have been invited represent a cross section of what the USA National Team is ultimately all about,” Auriemma said. “It’s some of the best players in the world. It’s a combination of past Olympic and World Championship gold medalists. It’s also young players who have also won gold medals at various levels of USA Basketball, pros in the WNBA, college players, veterans and rookies and everything in between. I think we’re going to be able to pick a 12-player roster that’s going to be as good as any team we’ve ever had.”

The USA National Team training camp roster includes three-time (2004, 2008, 2012) Olympic gold medalists Bird, Catchings and Taurasi; two-time Olympic gold medalists (2008, 2012) Augustus, Fowles and Parker; as well as 2012 Olympic gold medalists Charles, Moore, McCoughtry and Whalen.

Bird and Catchings have won two FIBA World Championship gold medals (2002, 2010); while Charles, Dupree, Fowles, McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen captured FIBA World Championship gold in 2010; and Augustus, Bird, Catchings, Parker and Thompson played on the 2006 USA World Championship Team that returned with the bronze medal.

The USA will compete in a pair of exhibition contests during its domestic training. The first game is the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Showcase, a Red versus White intrasquad game scheduled for Sept. 11 (7 p.m. EDT) at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Delaware.

ESPN2 will televise both USA Basketball Women’s National Team exhibition games, and both games will also available on WatchESPN.

Traveling up the coast to Bridgeport, Connecticut, the USA will train Sept. 14 alongside 2013 FIBA Americas Championship silver medalist Canada in Bridgeport, prior to the two teams squaring off in a Sept. 15 exhibition contest (7 p.m. EDT) at Webster Bank Arena.

Tickets for the USA Basketball Showcase can be purchased through the Bob Carpenter Center box office, by calling 302-831-2257 or online viaticketmaster.com; while tickets for the USA-Canada contest can be purchased through the box office at Webster Bank Arena, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or online viawww.websterbankarena.com.

In addition to the domestic exhibition schedule, the USA squad will play four additional exhibition games in Europe against 2012 Olympic silver medalist France, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Australia, 2010 FIBA World Championship silver medalist Czech Republic and 2013 FIBA Asia bronze medalist China, prior to the start of the World Championship.

Finalists for the 2014 USA World Championship Team will compete in the 2014 France International Tournament in the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris, Sept. 19-21. Opening against Australia on Sept. 19, the U.S. will face China on Sept. 20 and close the round-robin tournament against host France on Sept. 21.

From there, the Americans will head to Prague, Czech Republic, for an exhibition against Czech Republic on Sept. 23, before traveling to Istanbul for their final pre-World Championship preparations.

Auriemma will be assisted on the sideline by DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina head coachDawn Staley.

All but Bruno grew up in the Philadelphia area though he has been to the area numerous times guiding DePaul against Villanova in Big East competition.

The USA owns a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Championship play, while compiling an all-time 97-21 record at the event. In 2010, the most recent World Championship, the U.S. finished with a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal.

In addition to Callan, members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee include WNBA appointeesReneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations, Dan Hughes, San Antonio Silver Stars head coach and general manager, and Chris Sienko, Connecticut Sun vice president and general manager; and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalistKatie Smith, who played in nearly 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008, and serves as the athlete representative.


- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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