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.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Mike Siroky's SEC Report: SEC Influence on USA Pool Surpassed by UConn

By Mike Siroky

There are only two underclassmen invited to USA Basketball’s National Team Training Camp, starting Monday in Las Vegas.

However, there would have been a third had not Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd opted to use a loophole into the WNBA as the No. 1 pick last month by Seattle.

One of two undergrads is Tiffany Mitchell, the two-time Southeastern Conference player of the year from South Carolina.

Her college coach, Dawn Staley, is an assistant for the 2016 Olympics staff.

The head man there will be Geno Auriemma, UConn’s coach. His national player of the year, Brianna Stewart, is the other underclassman.

“I’m looking forward to the training camp,” said Auriemma. He started as the USA Basketball Women’s National Team in 2009 and his record with the group is 23-0, with Gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships and the 2012 Olympics.

“We are going to have a great mix of young athletes who are hungry for a spot on the team,” he said, “and many veterans who might need to work a little harder because of it.

“And of course we’re bringing in some who could shake things up Jewell Loyd and Tiffany Mitchell are two very talented guards, who I had the opportunity to see up close in games this year.

"They both gave my team a tough time, and I can’t wait to see them working alongside players like Sue Bird and Lindsay Whalen.

"We have a lot of work to do, but I honestly can’t wait to get out to Vegas and get started.”

There are 27 players invited to this camp.

It is unlikely any of the first-timers other than Stewart will ultimately make the Games cut, but this is a first fast track to future national teams.

"Running this camp will be an Auriemma All-American player, University of Hartford coach Jennifer Rizzotti.

All the other players are affiliated with WNBA teams now.

USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee made the invitations.

“Tiffany and Jewell have won Gold medals at the junior level, and based on their past experiences in college and with Jewell and Tiffany internationally, we wanted to see how they competed on the USA National Team level,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and chair of the selection committee.

“We are always looking toward the future, and we feel that these camps not only help USA Basketball prepare for the next big event, which of course is the Games, but for competitions beyond 2016.”

Among them are former SEC players, including LSU’s Seimone Augustus, 6-0, 166 pound forward and Sylvia Fowles, 6-6, 200 pound center and Tennessee’s Candace Parker, 6-4 175 pound center.

There are also seven legendary UConn players in this pool, some already with Olympic experience and none, of course, unfamiliar with teams assembled by USA Basketball.

They are: Sue Bird, 5-9, 150 pound guard; Tina Charles, 6-4, 198 pound center; Stefanie Dolson, 6-5, 210 pound center; Bria Hartley, 5-7- 145 pound guard; Maya Moore, 6-0 176 pound forward; and Diana Taurasi,, 6-0, 163-pound guard; and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, 6-0, 180 pound center

Notre Dame has two 5-9 representatives among the guards, Jewell Lloyd 150 pounds and Skylar Diggings, 145 pounds.

Stanford has two forward line representatives: Jayne Appelm, 6-4 210 pound center and Nnemkadi Ogwumike, 6-2 188 pound forward while Baylor has 6-8 199 pound center Brittney Griner and 5-8 155 pound guard Odyssey Sims.

All the other schools have lone representatives: 6-5 188 pound scoring forward Elena Delle Donne (Delaware); 5-8 144 pound guard Briann January (Arizona State); 6-4 185 pound center Jantel Lavender (Ohio Sate); 6-1 160 pound swingman Angel McCoughtry (Louisville); 5-9 160 poun guard Cappie Pondexter (Rutgers); 5-9 125 pound guard Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma); 5-8 145 pound guard Courtney Van Der Sloot (Gonzaga) and 5-10 170 pound swingman Monica Wright (Virginia).

The most intriguing player may be 6-7, 200 pound center Jem Hamson, a newcomer on the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks roster.

Don’t remember her?

Well she is still an All-American basketball player from Brigham Young; that is, she completed basketball there a year ago, skipped her WNBA draft selection and stayed on campus to play volleyball with her last year of eligibility in that sport, where she became an All-American for the second time, making the Final Four

Among the invitees are 14 athletes who have captured a combined 16 Olympic and 18 FIBA World Championship Golds.

Bird and Taurasi have three Oympic Golds. The 2016 Games are likely their last.

Augustus, Fowles and Parker each have won two Olympic Golds; Pondexter, McCoughtry and Moore each have one, though Pondexter did not make the 2012 team.

Bird is also three-time FIBA World Championship Gold medalist; Charles, McCoughtry, Moore and Taurasi have two, while Appel, Fowles Augustus, Griner, Ogwumike, Sims and Stewart all have one Augustus, Bird, Parker and Taurasi each won a Bronze in 20006.

The final 12-player 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team will be selected from the 2014-16 USA National Team pool by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games will be Aug. 5-21.

There are 12 nations in the competition, including host Brazil and the USA, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the Gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship.

The Gold-winning nations from each of the five FIBA zone Olympic qualifying tournaments in 2015 will also be in Rio, while the remaining berths will be awarded to the top five finishing teams at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying .

U.S. Olympic women’s basketball teams have earned a record seven Gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, and are 58-3 all-time in Olympic competition.

The 2016 U.S. team will enter Rio riding a 41-game Olympic winning streak that dates back to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medal game.

Since the inception of the 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team program, the USA National Team, in addition to its record five-straight Olympic Gold medals, has captured four FIBA World Championship Gold medals, one FIBA World Championship Bronze medal and one FIBA Americas Championship Gold medal, while compiling an 86-1 record for a .989 winning percentage in those events.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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