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, July 13, 2015

Mike Siroky's SEC Report: USA Racks Up Another Gold Medal at World University Games

By Mike Siroky

The final was easier than the semifinal.

Mercedes Russell and the United States completed their mission in Gwangju, South Korea by taking the Gold Medal in the World University Games, 82-63.

A 34-18 final quarter did it as USA once again wore down the opposition with a superior rotation. They led by three entering the quarter.

Tennessee’s Russell had nine points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes of the title game. She has set the tempo with a putback to open the game.

Aerial Powers (Michigan State) completed her run as USA’s leading scorer with 27 points by hitting 60 percent from the floor. She also had three blocked shots.

As these games only include players with college eligibility, it is a great precursor to the coming season. Those who didn’t know Russell or Powers as dominant college players know it now.

“It’s been different,” said Russell of her latest experience representing her country.

“For the first two, when I was on U16 and U17 teams, it was a different event, just basketball.

"The World University Games is special because it has every sport with thousands of athletes from every country, basically.”

As for the finish of this one: “We started playing really good defensively. We were getting stops, and on the offensive end were executing well, attacking the rim and getting good looks. That’s what helped us get that lead and put it away in the fourth quarter.

“We’re 12 individuals who have come together for a couple of weeks to accomplish something so special. We got to know each other really well, made great connections and came out with a Gold.”

The USA has won six straight Golds, 10 overall.

.The USA forced 20 turnovers and scored 14 points off of them. Russell and the front line dominated, scoring 44 from inside.

“It’s a great honor,” said USA coach Joe McKeown (Northwestern), one of two USA head coaches with Philly roots this summer. The other about to embark in international competition is South Carolina coach Dawn Staley with the U-19 contingent.

“It’s a great honor to represent the USA and to be able to coach this group," McKeown continued. "To see them gel together in a short period of time and play as well as they did together over here was really fortunate for all of us.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Erica McCall (Stanford). “These girls just became my sisters in a small amount of time. Coming here, bonding, playing cards together."

“It feels great, and I’m so excited,” said Powers. “I’m on Cloud 9. I can’t stop smiling ear-to-ear. I look at this thing and see all the hard work we put into it. Many don’t get the chance to say they played for the USA and many don’t get to say they won a Gold medal.”

Powers also led the team in scoring for the tournament with 18 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting from the floor. Russell was the top rebounder with 9.2 per contest, as the USA dominated with a rebounding margin of +17.2 in six games, 116 offensive rebounds and 199 defensive rebounds.

Tennessee’s Holly Warlick was an assistant coach. Diamond Deshields, another Tennessee player, reportedly tweaked an ankle in the tournament opener and did not play again, but was on the bench and was also awarded a Gold as a team member.


- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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