Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saving the best for last

After sitting through a less than inspiring 40 minutes of basketball at Mohegan Sun on Saturday for the "WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun" all-star game, it was a pleasure to see some real, competitive basketball on Sunday when the U.S. and Australia national teams had a spirit 40-minute scrimmage following but a series of half-court, 5-on-5 drills.

Australia won 87-72, outscoring the U.S. 46-29 in the second half but both U.S. coach Geno Auriemma and his Australian counterpart Carrie Graf admitted the score was pretty mich meaningless. This was a chance to play some different combinations together to see what happens and was as much about getting a better sense of the potential of those in the player pool than it was trying to win a game.

Australia was playing without Lauren Jackson, sidelined with a concussion and Penny Taylor saw limited time since she also recently took a shot to the head during a WNBA game. Cappie Pondexter and Sylvia Fowles were among the U.S. stalwarts who had to leave to rejoin their WNBA teams and did not play, Tamika Catchings sat out because of a tender right knee and Candace Parker is out after underdoing shoulder surgery.

As for those who did play, Jenna O'Hea, a 23-year-old guard, had a scrimmage-high 20 points, Belinda Snell had 13 points, and 21-year-old Abby Bishop had 11 points. Marianna Tolo, a 21-year-old center, had eight points and nine rebounds while the battle inside between Australia's towering 18-year-old Liz Cambage and Tina Charles would have been worth the price of admission if the public were allowed to buy tickets for the scrimmage.

Diana Taurasi led the U.S. with 11 points and her Phoenix Mercury teammate Candice Dupree, who greatly enhanced her chances of making the U.S. team for the FIBA World Championships over the last couple of days, had 10 points. Ebony Hoffman played significantly better than her four points and three rebounds would indicate. Auriemma has said that without Parker, he'd prefer another big body on the roster for the world championships and if her performance in the fourth quarter is any indication, Hoffman may play her way onto the squad. I'll be writing more about my week of USA Basketball coverage which began with me attending U-17 team practices on Monday and Tuesday before heading to a U.S. national team practice on Thursday, the all-star game on Saturday and finally the U.S./Australia scrimmage on Sunday.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home