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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Staley, USA Women’s National Team set to start training camp

Courtesy of ABC Columbia:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – With the 2017 WNBA Finals participants set, the roster for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s National Team training camp now lists 20 of the nation’s top basketball players, headlined by five Olympic and FIBA World Cup gold medalists, who accepted an invitation and are available to participate in the training camp Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Santa Barbara, California.

Led by 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina), the roster includes WNBA stars Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars); Kelsey Plum (San Antonio Stars); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun); and Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun). Current collegiate All-Americans who will take part in the camp include: Napheesa Collier (Connecticut); Asia Durr (Louisville); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State); Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina).

The camp will be utilized to help identify and prepare athletes for future USA National Team events, including the 2018 USA World Cup Team, and will mark the USA’s first training camp under Staley’s tenure as head coach.

The USA will train at 10 a.m. (PDT) daily, with sessions at Westmont College on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. On Oct. 2, the USA National Team’s practice will be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara Recreation Center’s Robertson Gymnasium.

All 20 athletes possess prior USA Basketball experience. Among the Olympians, Bird and Taurasi are four-time Olympic gold medalists; while 2016 marked the first Olympic gold for Delle Donne, Griner and Stewart.

Bird lists as a four-time USA World Cup Team member and owns three gold medals and one bronze medal at the event; Taurasi has two gold medals and one bronze medal in FIBA World Cup play; and Griner and Stewart were members of the 2014 USA World Cup Team that returned home with the gold medal.

Michelle Clark-Heard (Western Kentucky), Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington), Sue Semrau (Florida State) and Jeff Walz (Louisville) will be assisting Staley as court coaches during the USA National Team camp.

 

Original Source: http://www.abccolumbia.com/2017/09/19/staley-usa-womens-national-team-set-start-training-camp/

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Elena Delle Donne has found a home with Washington Mystics

Courtesy of The Washington Post:

Twice now, this 6-foot-5 basketball prodigy has taken her career, and her life, into her own hands with startling force.

The first time, Elena Delle Donne left in the middle of the night. She was 18, burned out, homesick and unwilling to cede any more of herself to the sport. She returned home to Delaware from the University of Connecticut for what she needed — a reprieve — before finding her way back to basketball on her own time and eventually becoming the No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft.

She left again nine years later, this time after spending the first four years of her professional career with the Chicago Sky. She demanded a trade to the team she believed could give her what she wanted — the chance to become a better basketball player, a team culture she could love, and the opportunity to spend more time with her family.

Now with one full regular season and one momentous playoff victory under her belt, Delle Donne judges that her second move, to the Washington Mystics in February, was just as successful as her first.

“I love it here. I really love it,” Delle Donne said emphatically, hunched over and sitting on a massage table after practice this week at Capital One Arena. “I love my teammates. I love my coaching staff. It’s just a great group of people. It’s infectious to be around. I really just enjoy coming to — I mean, I’ll call it work — every day.”

While Delle Donne found happiness in her move to Washington, the Mystics are overjoyed.

Delle Donne raised the ceiling for what Washington can achieve the moment she arrived. On Wednesday, she scored 25 points, one shy of a franchise playoff record, and added 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks to lift the Mystics past the Dallas Wings and into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2002. They now head to New York for another single-elimination game against the Liberty on Sunday.

During the regular season, Delle Donne dealt with ankle and thumb injuries and played through pain all while leading the team and ranking fourth in the WNBA with 19.7 points per game. In the regular season, she ranked in the top 15 in the league in rebounding (6.8, 13th), blocks (1.4, eighth), field goal percentage (49.4, 15th), three-point field goal percentage (38.8, 10th) and free throw percentage (95.3, first).

“She’s the biggest presence that we have out there on the court,” point guard Ivory Latta said. “Physically, mentally, everything. She’s a top player in the WNBA, so she attracts a lot, and she opens it up for everyone else. It’s just confidence. She gives us confidence.”

Part of what Delle Donne appreciates in Washington is that, though her talent makes her the largest presence on court, she doesn’t have to be the loudest voice in the locker room.

Krystal Thomas, a sixth-year pro, is one of the team’s most vocal leaders. Latta, who has spent a decade in the WNBA, keeps the locker room energized. Delle Donne, though unmistakably the Mystics’ franchise player, isn’t the team’s sole engine.

Being able to share that responsibility is a break from the norm.

“She’s had to be the star since she was a freshman in high school, and she was a starter on her state championship team as an eighth-grader,” Coach Mike Thibault said. “That’s a lot of pressure.”

Delle Donne craved that type of all-hands-on-deck culture that Thibault has cultivated since he signed on as the team’s coach and general manager in 2012. She has been open to working with him since at least 2013, when the Mystics tried to orchestrate a draft-day trade for Delle Donne with her blessing.

Said Thibault, who has known Delle Donne since she was a junior in college: “I think part of it is she’s family-oriented, and we have tried to develop a culture on and off the court where the players — you don’t have to have best friends, but you have to have a respect for each other and a liking for going to work with each other every day.”

Delle Donne also craved good basketball advisers, and Thibault came highly recommended from friends around the league. He tutored 2012 league MVP Tina Charles and has worked with USA Basketball for decades. Injuries derailed Delle Donne’s progress somewhat this season, but she has been able to work on improving her defense and the superb passing skills that helped make her a star.

“I really feel like I’m improving on court, but also really as a leader,” Delle Donne said. “And that’s what you want to see, is just growth. In all areas.”

As far as winning championships, Delle Donne believes that the Mystics will be WNBA title contenders in due time. Thinking about the future in Washington doesn’t scare her — it’s where she wants to be. It’s the type of situation that makes Delle Donne think about playing in the WNBA longer than she ever previously imagined.

“It’s so enjoyable that I hope my body holds out for many, many years and I can continue to do this, because it’s fun,” she said. “Who wants to go work a 9-to-5? I hope I can last for a long time and be a part of this. Because it’s really special.”

 

Original Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/mystics/elena-delle-donne-has-found-a-home-with-washington-mystics/2017/09/09/7c363bba-958d-11e7-aace-04b862b2b3f3_story.html?utm_term=.2461f3271a46

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Delle Donne scores 37 as Mystics beat Storm 110-106 in WNBA

Courtesy of Daily Mail:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Elena Delle Donne scored a season-high 37 points and the Washington Mystics beat the Seattle Storm 110-106 in overtime on Friday night.

The victory spoiled Seattle’s Sue Bird breaking the WNBA’s all-time assist record when she recorded her 2,600th career assist in the first quarter to pass Ticha Penicheiro and move into the top spot.

Washington led by three when Emma Meesseman made 1 of 2 free throws with 16.3 seconds remaining in overtime for a four-point lead. Bird was fouled on a 3-pointer five seconds later and hit all three shots to pull Seattle to 102-101. The teams combined for 13 free throws over the remaining 11 seconds and with Seattle down two with 3.8 seconds left Sami Whitcomb intentionally missed a free throw, but Delle Donne secured the rebound and made two free throws at the other end to seal it.

Meesseman added 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Washington (18-15), which holds a one-game lead on Phoenix for the fifth spot in the playoffs. The Mercury hold the tiebreaker between the teams.

Despite the loss, Seattle (14-19) clinched a postseason berth due to losses by Chicago and Atlanta later Friday night. The Storm will be the eighth seed.

LYNX 110, SKY 87

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Sylvia Fowles had 27 points and 12 rebounds for her 20th double-double, and the Lynx topped 100 points for the third straight home game with a victory over the Chicago Sky.

The Lynx set a WNBA record with 35 assists – without injured point guard Lindsay Whalen. They topped the 34 assists that both Los Angeles and Seattle had against Chicago earlier this season.

Maya Moore hit her 461st career 3-pointer, moving past Katie Smith for the franchise record.

Minnesota (26-7) remains a game in front of Los Angeles for the best record in the league. The Sparks, who beat Atlanta on Friday, own the tiebreaker. They’d need a win in their final game and a loss by the Lynx to get the top seed.

Kahleah Copper scored 21 points for Chicago (12-21), which was eliminated from the playoff hunt with the loss.

LIBERTY 81, STARS 69

NEW YORK (AP) – Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince scored 16 points apiece and the Liberty pulled away in the fourth quarter to win their ninth straight game, beating San Antonio.

New York (21-12) entered the night having clinched a first-round postseason bye and is a half-game behind Connecticut for the third seed. The Sun played at Phoenix later Friday night. The Liberty, who have not lost since Aug. 4, conclude their regular season against the Dallas Wings on Sunday with a shot of matching the franchise record for consecutive victories.

Kia Vaughn and Shavonte Zellous added 10 points each for New York.

Kelsey Plum scored 18 points and Kayla Alexander had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead San Antonio (7-26).

MERCURY 86, SUN 66

PHOENIX (AP) – Brittney Griner had 20 of her 31 points in the first half and the Mercury clinched a home playoff game with a win over the Sun.

The Sun (21-12) dropped into a third-place tie with the New York Liberty, each with one game remaining in the regular season. Connecticut visits the Los Angeles Sparks and New York travels to the Dallas Wings, both on Sunday. The Liberty hold the tiebreaker.

The Mercury (17-16) finish their season at home against Atlanta on Sunday and will stay in Phoenix. The Mercury can earn the fifth seed with a win and a loss by Washington.

Alyssa Thomas had 19 points and Brionna Jones added 13 for the Sun.

SPARKS 81, DREAM 56

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Candace Parker scored 15 points and the Sparks built an early double-digit lead en route to an easy victory over the Dream.

Los Angeles (25-8) has won six straight and is a game back of the Minnesota Lynx (26-7) for the No. 1 seed into the playoffs. The Sparks host the Connecticut Sun while the Lynx face the Washington Mystics at home to conclude the regular season on Sunday. The Sparks beat Minnesota 78-67 on Aug. 27 and own the tiebreaker over the Lynx. Atlanta (12-21) was eliminated from the postseason.

Nneka Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims added 13 points apiece for the Sparks. Jantel Lavender chipped in 12 points.

Tiffany Hayes scored 19 points to lead Atlanta, which committed a season-high 19 turnovers.

Parker picked up her 1,000th career assist in the first quarter with a pass to Chelsea Gray, who made a 26-footer. Gray hit another 3 on the Sparks’ next possession to cap a 14-2 opening run as Los Angeles built a 43-29 halftime lead. Gray finished with eight points.

 

Original Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4846070/Delle-Donne-scores-37-Mystics-beat-Storm-110-106-WNBA.html

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VIDEO: WNBA mode included in NBA Live video game for first time, including Elena Delle Donne of Mystics

Courtesy of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

NBA Live is back with a new version after a one-year hiatus and EA Sports has added a brand new feature that is quite cool. For the first time, you can play with WNBA teams including the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne.

The graphics are sweet, too. Check out this video of the gameplay:

That’s not bad at all. Of course, NBA 2K18 is also coming out this fall and the franchise is extremely popular. But maybe NBA Live will win some new fans with the WNBA mode.

 

Original Source: http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/washington-wizards/video-wnba-mode-included-nba-live-video-game-first-time-including-elena-delle

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