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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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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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Washington Mystics players speak out about President Trump, politics in Washington Post story

Courtesy of Fansided:

Politics is a tricky subject to navigate, particularly for professional athletes subject to media scrutiny, fan criticism, and the expectations of their own team.

The Washington Mystics don’t seem to care.

In an eye-opening piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, players and coaches spoke out about current events and whether they would visit the White House if invited.

For the Mystics, it starts with the coach. The story says Mike Thibault welcomes political discussion around his team, no matter the views, and encourages his players to support causes that are important to them.

“I’m not trying to be dramatic about it; I just think it’s important that you stand up for what you think’s right,” Thibault said. “I don’t know if it’s the teacher part of me or the activist part of me, I don’t know what it is. I just feel like I want them to stand for something, whatever it is.”

Part of that could mean making a difficult decision if the Mystics win the WNBA Championship (a big “if.” The Mystics are on track for a playoff spot, but would have to get past several teams in seemingly better shape.). Major sports champions are traditionally invited to the White House to meet the president, but many of President Trump’s actions and policies have rubbed Mystics players the wrong way, to the point where they might not want to attend.

In the story, Elena Delle Donne called Trump’s statement last week on banning transgender individuals from serving in the military “idiotic” and “very frightening.”

Natasha Cloud said she does not support any of Trump’s views on politics or human rights issues, and added that if the Mystics were to win the WNBA title, “we [presumably the Mystics] would not go to the White House.
Delle Donne agreed:

“I wouldn’t go,” Delle Donne said. “I’m pretty sure the whole team just isn’t in support of a lot of the values that the president right now seems to be standing for. So yeah, I don’t think many of us would make that trip.”

The Mystics are hardly an outlier, either. Earlier this month, the Seattle Storm held a Stand With Planned Parenthood night, which included a pregame rally. They also gave proceeds from ticket sales going to the non-profit. WNBA president Lisa Borders also weighed in on the hotly contested Georgia special House election, supporting Democrat Jon Ossoff, who ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel.

It will be interesting to see if other WNBA contenders weigh in on a potential White House invitation in the offseason. After all, one team will ultimately have a decision to make.

 

Original Source: https://summitthoops.com/2017/07/31/theresa-plaisance-raised-on-game/

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Elena Delle Donne hopes to share lessons from her life and career in new books

 

Courtesy of USA Today:

Even for a program like Connecticut, Elena Della Donne was a big deal. The Huskies routinely bring in top classes, but by 2008 Delle Donne had become perhaps the most talked-about high school girls basketball player in history, destined for multiple titles with the nation’s most elite program.

Then, after only a short stay on campus the summer before her freshman season, she left. Her decision to transfer to the University of Delaware is still scrutinized nearly 10 years — and one WNBA MVP award and Olympic gold medal — later.

Now, she’s hoping to pass on the life lessons she learned then – and from the rest of her career (so far) – in two new books: Her memoir, My Shot, and the first in a series of kids books, Elle of the Ball. Delle Donne wants both books — which are written with a collaborator and will be released by Simon and Schuster in March of 2018 — to be accessible to children and teenagers who may be struggling with the same feelings she had when she was younger.

“It’s been a couple of years in my career and I feel like at this point I’m comfortable with who I am, where I am,” Delle Donne said. “A lot of lessons I’ve learned along the way, and I love kids so I definitely wanted these first books to be geared towards a younger age group and just wanted to share some life lessons. Also just give a little bit of fun reading.”

Among those life lessons, she said, are those she learned in the years after her departure from UConn, when long-simmering feelings of burnout culminated in an abrupt – but necessary – break from the sport before returning to the court at Delaware a year later. She said she began feeling burned out long before she stepped on campus in Storrs, Conn. and in her book shares some of the emotions she was feeling in the years leading up to that famous departure.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“It was definitely a chance to tell it in my own way and in my own words, even going through the writing process of it all. At some points it’s kind of emotional to have to re-live moments that were tough, especially the whole Connecticut turmoil and going through that I felt like I had to re-live those emotions in order to re-tell it the way I was experiencing it in that time,” she said. “So I would say that was one of the hardest parts of the book was getting through that and burnout was a huge part of the book and I think — even if you’re not an athlete — there’s things in life you feel like you’re burning out in and I tell it from my perspective and how I got through it and hope that can help others.”

There are other life lessons in the books that Delle Donne hopes can appeal to kids – and grownups – across different audiences. Which means she hopes that both boys and girls take away something from the books. In Elle of the Ball, a book about a middle school basketball player, there’s a boy character too.

“So if they don’t relate to my character hopefully they can relate to another one and that was very important to me,” she said.

Delle Donne also hopes to offer some of what she learned about perseverance, having the right people to support you and some tales about life being so tall. (Delle Donne is 6-foot-5).

“It took me until college to really be comfortable,” she said. “Obviously basketball helped a lot but I would say college is when I finally loved my height and embraced it.”

As for feeling comfortable with herself as a whole? As it is for any of us, it’s an ongoing process, she said.

“But I’m in a great place now and I feel like I’ve really learned so much over the years,” she said. “This was a great time to reflect and share some lessons.”

 

Original Source: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/07/elena-delle-donne-book

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Elena Delle Donne leads WNBA Eastern Conference in all-star voting

Elena Delle Donne’s star shines bright as ever in the WNBA, as evidenced by the league’s first all-star voting update announced Thursday. The Washington Mystics forward leads all Eastern Conference players with 19,280 votes and sits second in the league overall behind the Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore, who has 19,949.

In the Eastern Conference, Delle Donne, a three-time all-star, leads frontcourt players by a wide margin. New York’s Tina Charles is the next highest vote-getter with 12,055 votes and Connecticut forward/center and former George Washington standout Jonquel Jones sits in third place with 10,585 votes.

Mystics guards Kristi Toliver (3,498), Tayler Hill (2,794) and Ivory Latta (2,042) are also among the conference’s top vote-getters for backcourt players.

In the Western Conference, Los Angeles’s Candace Parker trails Moore among frontcourt players with 17,127 votes and is followed by Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles, with 15,159 votes. Seattle’s Sue Bird (16,139), Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi (15,207 and Dallas’ Skylar Diggins-Smith (11,462) lead the Western Conference backcourt players.

The All-Star Game will be played in Seattle on July 22, the WNBA’s first since 2015 after skipping last year for the Rio Olympics. The game will be broadcast on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Original Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dc-sports-bog/wp/2017/06/29/elena-delle-donne-leads-wnba-eastern-conference-in-all-star-voting/

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