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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

USA Basketball Training: Fate Gives McCoughtry a Quick Trip Home for her Birthday

By Rob Knox (@knoxrob1)

Angel McCoughtry had the best birthday anybody could ask for.

In addition to playing the game she loves, McCoughtry also had an opportunity to spend some quality time with her family.

With McCoughtry in the area as part of the USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Training Camp, she was able to make the 30-minute trip to Baltimore, her hometown.

“I am glad I am here because it’s kind of like a treat for me on my birthday,” said McCoughtry following the USA’s final practice at the United States Naval Academy Wednesday morning.

Instead of birthday cake, ice cream and balloons, the 28-year-old McCoughtry had one wish as her bones and joints cracked and creaked.

“I need some Icy Hot,” McCoughtry said with a laugh as she was removing her red sneakers. “I am sitting over here aching and just needing to stretch. I feel old.”

McCoughtry, who is young at heart, will be one of 17 players competing in Thursday’s USA Basketball Showcase at the Bob Carpenter Center on the University of Delaware’s campus. The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN2.

She has been encouraged with the training sessions and intense scrimmages against one another. McCoughtry believes the chemistry is already there among this group of ultra-talented players.

“I would say that even though we’ve been practicing three or four days, it feels like we’ve been practicing longer than that because of the high level of play here,” McCoughtry said. “It looks like we’ve been playing together a while. I am excited to play with this group of women. Hopefully I can stay on the team to help.”

While nobody has a guaranteed spot, McCoughtry’s performances for Team USA in recent years would have to factor into a decision to select her to the final 12-player roster that will compete in the World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5.

McCoughtry was a member of the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 Olympic gold medal winning teams. The Atlanta Dream forward has helped Team USA compile a 17-0 record in international competition. She made her presence felt during the Olympics in London in 2012 as was second on the team in scoring (10.9 points per game) and steals (2.5).

McCoughtry was also an efficient and ruthless scorer as she led all competitors in the 12-team field in field goal percentage as she shot a ridiculous .620 percent (31-for-50).

The former Louisville all-American set a U.S. Olympic single game record for field goal percentage after going 8-for-8 against China.

“2010 was a great experience and I learned a lot about the how the international game is played," McCoughtry said. “Right after that I started playing overseas.

"I am so excited. The showcase game is going to be a lot of fun. Istanbul is like my second home as I’ve been playing there for five years. This is like a home away from home for me.”

This summer for the Dream, she helped them win the regular season Eastern Conference crown.

McCoughtry detonated for 39 points in an elimination game against the Chicago Sky.

During her career in Atlanta, McCoughtry has helped the Dream to the 2011 and 2013 WNBA Finals.

Even though McCoughtry’s dad, Roi, was a standout player at Coppin State in the late 70s, he never pushed her or her younger sisters into playing basketball.

It just so happened that a friend of McCoughtry’s mom suggested that she play basketball since she was tall.

It was love at first sight and McCoughtry hasn’t looked back since.

While she’s earned plenty of accolades for her basketball skills, McCoughtry is a champion in the game of life as she has become a beacon of inspiration for the younger generation.

She started the Angel McCoughtry Dream Foundation.

The mission of the foundation is to teach and empower youth to recognize their dreams by possessing good character, self-confidence and valuable life skills through trainings based on the fundamentals of sportsmanship, competition and respect which will facilitate their physical, mental and spiritual maturity.

She’s the only female basketball player from Baltimore to earn an Olympic gold medal. It’s something she doesn’t take lightly.

“It’s amazing and an honor to have that distinction,” McCoughtry said. “All of my natural ability comes from my dad.

"Overall, I have great parents that have always been supportive. I don’t think my dad even thought about his girls playing basketball. We were into dainty things coming up. It’s great that more girls are playing basketball than ever before.”

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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