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, May 18, 2015

Villanova's Caroline Coyer, UConn's Breanna Stewart and Four SEC Stars Make Pan Am Roster

By Mike Siroky and Mel Greenberg

After setting personal career and season records last season at Villanova, making the All-Big East team and being named the Philadelphia Big Five Women's Player of the Year, can it get any better for Caroline Coyer, who has one more season left with the Wildcats?

The answer is an emphatic yes.

On Sunday Coyer made good on her invite to the gathering of current women's collegiate greats in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center to try out for USA Basketball's one of two squads: The World University contingent, whose roster is listed under this post with Mike telling you all about it, or the Pan Am Games group, which will compete in Toronto, Canada in July.

Coyer's name was called as was UConn superstar Breanna Stewart, fresh off training with the USA Senior Women's National Team, and four stars of the Southeastern Conference, among others to the Pan Am squad.

While the World Games roster is very talented, more of the undergraduate cream of the crop was chosen for the Pan Am group.

"Wow. What an unbelievable honor! I am so humbled to have been selected & could not be more excited to represent @usabasketball this summer!," Coyer, whose twin sister Katherine also plays for 'Nova, tweeted before getting back to the East to catch up with her Wildcats teammates, who took off for a tour of Italy Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Stewart, the two-time consensus national player of the year and three-time Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Women's Final Four, made the squad as did four of the SEC's very best: Alaina Coates (center, 6-4, 208) South Carolina; Linnae Harper guard, 5-8 150) Kentucky; Tiffany Mitchell (guard 5-9 154) South Carolina; and Courtney B. Williams (swing, 6-1, 165) Texas A&M.

Others who made the cut besides Coyer, a 5-10 140 pound guard, and Stewart (forward/center 6-4, 175) UConn: Moriah Jefferson (guard, 5-7 122) UConn; Sophie Brunner (center, 6-1, 185) Arizona State; Stephanie Mavunga (forward, 6-3 184) North Carolina; Kelsey Plum (guard 5-8, 145) Washington; Taya Reimer (forward, 6-3, 180) Notre Dame; and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (guard, 5-11, 140) Maryland.

They were announced after the end of the three-day workouts.

Eligibility rules state all must be U.S. citizens still enrolled in college or university with eligibility remaining. No WNBAers or players from other pro teams across the world. These athletes are truly the future USA players for Olympics to come.

For example, in 2011 following an ongoing battle during the previous collegiate season with Lyme's Disease, then Delaware sensation Elena Delle Donne made the World University squad and joined a similar super rich talented group as this Pan Am team and became a gold medalist, finished her career with the Blue Hens in illustrious style and quickly became WNBA rookie of the year and one of the pro league's top players.

Reimer, Harper and Mitchell are among previous Gold Medal winners for USA Basketball on various teams. So are Stewart and Jefferson, Mavunga and Reimer while this is Coyer's first USA accolade.

The Pan American Women’s Basketball Team players and coaches will return to Colorado on July 3 for the start of training camp and will depart for the competition in Toronto on July 8. The women’s basketball competition will take place July 16-20.

The USA women have been placed into Group A and will take on Brazil on July 16, Dominican Republic on July 17 and Puerto Rico on July 18 in the preliminary round. Competing in Group B will be Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Venezuela.

The top two teams from each preliminary-round group will advance to the medal-round semifinals on July 19, while the third and fourth-placed teams will for fifth-eighth places. The semifinal winners will compete for the gold medal on July 20, while the semifinal losers will play for Bronze.

The Pan Ams are a multi-sport event featuring teams from North, South and Central American and the Caribbean that are organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and played every four years in the year preceding the Olympics (2015, 2019, etc.).

Since the first Pan American Games for women in 1955, the USA has compiled an overall record of 87-15 and won eight Gold medals, three Silver and two Bronze.

Most recently in 2011, a U.S. team comprised of collegians and one high school senior in Stewart that began training just one week prior to its first game, finished in seventh place with a 2-2 record.

The USA’s last Gold medal came in 2007, under the direction of 10-time USA Basketball Gold medalist and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who is currently an assistant to UConn's Geno Auriemma with the Olympians and will also head the U-19 squad, also picked Sunday, in the other main competition this summer.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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