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.

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