September 28, 2014

Team USA off to a good start

The USA Women's National Basketball team began its quest for the FIBA World Championship yesterday with an 87-56 win over China.

Nneka did not play a big role in the game. She scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

Read more about the game here:

Team USA continues group play with games against Serbia today and Angola on Tuesday, both at 11:30 am PT.

After the group round, the top team in each of the four groups advances to the quarterfinals. The second and third place teams complete for a spot in the quarterfinals on Wednesday 1 October.

The quarterfinals will be played on Friday 3 October, the semifinals on Saturday 4 October and the finals on Sunday 5 October.

Although the FIBA website says, "Watch all of the action on LiveBasketball.TV!", don't bother buying a subscription. Some games can't be viewed in some countries, and all of the games in which Team USA has, will, or may play are blocked from being shown in the USA.

The best you can do to keep track of things is follow the live stats provided by FIBA. There are links to stats for each game at the top of the FIBA World Championship website home page.

The FIBA Calendar gives the option of showing game times in your local time — very handy for the time-zone-conversion challenged.

September 23, 2014

2014 USA Basketball World Championship Team Roster Finalized

Nneka's hard work has paid off. She is a member of the 2014 USA World Championship Team, which was finalized today.

This is the USA Basketball announcement.

This is Nneka's USA Basketball bio.

Nneka worked really hard this morning to help Team USA defeat the Czech Republic 76-41 in their final exhibition game before the world championship. She scored 12 points and grabbed the team-high 10 rebounds.

This is the game recap.

September 22, 2014

13 finalists remain for Team USA

... and Nneka is one of them!

The 13 include the 11 who played against France yesterday, Jantel Lavender and Brittney Griner, who is expected to join the others in Istanbul on Wednesday. One more player will be cut from the roster before the FIBA World Championship begins.

Read all about the final selection in the USA Basketball announcement.

September 21, 2014

Team USA loses to France

Here's the AP game summary:
Sandrine Gruda had 26 points and 15 rebounds to help France stun the U.S. women's national team 76-72 in an exhibition game on Sunday.

It's the first loss by the Americans in an international game since falling to a team from the Czech Republic in 2011 when the U.S. was on a European tour.

The Americans, who beat the French in the gold medal game at the Olympics in 2012, had a 12-point halftime lead and were up 60-52 with 6:39 left in the game before the hosts rallied. France led 71-67 with 27 seconds left after Celine Dumerc hit a jumper. Maya Moore made a 3-pointer 7 seconds later to make it a one-point game.

After the teams exchanged free throws, Dumerc made the first of two from the foul line before corralling her own miss with nine seconds left to seal the win.

Nneka started for the first time and played a good game — six points on three of four field goals, five rebounds, an assist and a block.

Team USA fielded only eleven players today — Skylar Diggins, Stefanie Dolson, Jantel Lavendar and Kayla McBride did not play. I have no idea if this is indicative of the final selection. There is no news yet of Brittney Griner.

For more about today's game, see the USA BB game recap and the FIBA live statistics.

Team USA will now head to Prague for a final exhibition game against Czech Republic on Sept. 23 at 10:00 am PT, before traveling to Istanbul for their final pre-World Championship preparations.

The FIBA World Championship games will begin on Saturday Sept. 27 with three rounds of intra-group competition. The USA is grouped with China, Serbia and Angola.

September 20, 2014

Another win for Team USA

The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s National Team took a double-digit lead over China six minutes into the first quarter and pulled away to a 51-24 halftime advantage before easing up in the second half for a 99-75 victory.

Nneka had her third straight strong exhibition game for Team USA. She scored the team-high sixteen points on seven of eight field goals and again had the highest efficiency ranking of the day.

Here is the game recap from USA Basketball and live stats from FIBA that include the box score and play-by-play.

Team USA will play its third exhibition game in Paris against the host team, France, tomorrow (Sunday, September 21) at 8am PT. USA Basketball will tweet game updates and the link to live online stats.

The USA and China will meet again in group play at the FIBA world championship in Turkey next Saturday.

September 19, 2014

USA women defeat Australia

The USA Women's National Basketball team won its first foreign exhibition game today in Paris over the Australia National team, 72-66.

The game was a balanced effort by the USA as head coach Geno Auriemma continues to focus on putting a team together.

Here's the complete game recap from USA BB.

Nneka had another strong outing. Although she played only 13 minutes, she tied with Maya Moore for the most rebounds (6), tied with Maya and Seimone Augustus for the second-most points (7), and added two assists, two steals and one block. It all added up to the highest efficiency ranking (sum of points, rebounds, blocks, assists and steals minus missed field goals, missed free throws and turnovers) of the day.

When asked who stood out for him today, Geno's response included, "Nneka gave us some great minutes."

There are currently 15 players on the USA roster. Brittney Griner will likely join the squad next week if she recovers from the retinal injury she suffered in the WNBA finals. The USA BB Selection Committee will announce the final 12 next week.

The team will continue its preparation for the FIBA World Championship with another exhibition game tomorrow (Saturday, Sep 20) at 7am PT against China. The game will not be broadcast on TV or online, but you may be able to follow the action on FIBA Live Stats. I can't find a link to tomorrow's game, but it may be tweeted by USA Basketball once the game has started, as it was today.

September 15, 2014

Chiney one of four cut by USA Basketball

USA Basketball has reduced their roster by 4 players after their first training camp.

The four are guards Bria Hartley, Briann January and Danielle Robinson and power forward Chiney Ogwumike.

The remaining 13 will play Canada on Monday in a televised game (at 4:00 PT on ESPN2) after beating them 75-52 in a scrimmage on Sunday.

Then they'll travel to Paris to compete in the Sept. 19-21 France International Tournament. They'll be joined by some or all of the seven 2014-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team members that were competing the the WNBA finals.

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

Read more: USA Basketball Women’s National Team Roster Set For Exhibition Versus Canada

View schedule

September 12, 2014

Nneka shines in USA Basketball Showcase

Nneka played a great game in the USA Basketball Showcase last night. She led all scorers with 26 points on 13 of 15 field goal attempts, grabbed the most rebounds (12), and played the second-most minutes (just 20 seconds less than Maya Moore).

It wasn't quite enough to lead her red squad to victory — the white squad won the scrimmage 95-87.

But it earned her some high praise from head coach Geno Auriemma, who was a spectator at the game.

After the game, he commented on how the young guys have looked compared to the returning Olympians:

When we had this training camp in Las Vegas (in Oct. 2013), none of the Olympians participated, so all the young guys looked really good. And we all went away from there going ‘wow. We have some great young players, you should see these guys, they’re really, really good.’

Then, when the Olympians came back and we put them on the floor with the young guys, all of a sudden the young guys didn’t look so good. There’s a real gap between some of the players that have won two or three Olympic gold medals and the young guys that are trying to make the team. There’s a gap there.

But, having said that, there’s an athletic ability. There’s a youthful kind of hunger to play and somebody like Nneka (Ogwumike) who has not ever played on the national team, she did things today that makes you appreciate who she is and what she is.

Chiney was one of five red squad players who scored in double digits. She scored 12 points on six of eight field goal attempts and grabbed five rebounds in just 17 minutes of playing time.

Click here for a full report from USA Basketball, including links to the box score, a photo gallery, the post-game quotes and several video clips

The team has now travelled to Connecticut for more practice, a day off on Saturday, and practice again on Sunday in preparation for a game vs USA Canada on Monday at 4:00 PT. The game will be shown on ESPN2.

If Phoenix closes out the WNBA finals with a win tonight or Sunday, the remaining seven contenders for a spot on the USA National Team (DeWanna Bonner, Elena Delle Donne, Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Courtney Vandersloot) may join the others in Connecticut.

September 10, 2014

Nneka & Chiney at USA Basketball training camp

On Monday, Nneka and Chiney joined 15 of their peers in Annapolis, Maryland for the 2014 USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp.

They were excited to have the opportunity to compete for the chance to make the National team and to play together for the first time since their college days at Stanford.

Seven more women will join the training camp after the WNBA playoffs are completed. Coach Geno Auriemma commented on the depth of talent and how difficult it will be to whittle down to 12 players: Tough Decisions Loom In the USA Women’s World Championship Team Selection Process.

The practice sessions were very competitive, with everyone trying their best to make the cut (view gallery):

On Tuesday evening the team participated in a Hoops For Troops basketball clinic for children of military families on campus at the U.S. Naval Academy: National Team Members Teach Skills to Annapolis Youth

After the third practice session on Wednesday, the USA National Team was introduced to the Naval Academy’s women’s basketball team (view gallery):

Then the USA National Team watched an amazing display of teamwork as 4,000 Naval Academy midshipmen marched into place for the noon meal formation: Representing the United States of America in Different, Yet Similar Ways.

Now the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s National Team members have been split into two groups that will play each other in the USA Basketball Showcase, which will be shown on ESPN2 on Thursday, September 11 at 4:00 PT: USA Squads Set For Intrasquad Game With USA Basketball Women’s National Team Showcase

September 9, 2014

A conversation with Nicole

Jayda Evans (Seattle Times) speaks with Nicole Powell ('04) about her probable last season in the WNBA and her expectations of the upcoming season as an assistant coach at the University of Oregon: Nicole Powell found basketball home