Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Olympic qualifying draw down to final eight

Pool play in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Ankara, Turkey wrapped up today with Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Mozambique and Mali being eliminated.

The top two teams in each of the four pools advance to the quarterfinals. The winners of the quarterfinals will earn Olympic berths with the four quarterfinal losers going into a separate single-elimination draw with the winner claiming the final spot in the Olympics.

Speaking of Mali, I headed down to Connecticut Sun practice so I could do a story on Kara Lawson. I took the chance to ask Sun coach Mike Thibault why Astan Dabo, who was taken by the Sun with the ninth overall pick in April's WNBA draft, did not play for Mali.

Thibault said that when he spoke to Dabo a month ago she said she may not be playing in the tournament. He also said that she is considering heading to the U.S. to work out with some coaches in Houston.

As for the Olympic qualifier, Turkey, Czech Republic, Croatia and France each won their groups while Japan, Argentina, Korea and Canada also advanced to Friday's quarterfinals.

Croatia and Canada will play in the first quarterfinal at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time on Friday. Japan and the Czech Republic are up next followed by the Turkey/Argentina and France/Korea games.

It remains to be seen how the teams will be slotted into the Olympic draw. It seems to be a safe assumption that whoever emerged out of the four quarterfinal losers will be the fifth and final qualifier but I'm not sure if they will use a points scored or allowed tiebreaker or simply a blind draw to determine spots 1-4.

Some familiar names finished among the statistical leaders after group play. Puerto Rico's Jasmine Sepulveda, who played collegiately at South Florida, was the second leading scorer with an average of 22 points. Former Old Dominion star Clarisse Machanguana was the third best scorer (19 points per game) and also third in rebounding (10.5). Canada's Courtney Pilypatis, a former star at Vermont, ranked third in assists at 5.5 per game.

Jessica McCormack, who was briefly at UConn, was not a member of the New Zealand squad which lost to the Czech Republic and Argentina.

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