Saturday link roundup: Top WNBA draft prospects invited to USA Basketball Women's National Team Training Camp

Notre Dame wing Kayla McBride and Connecticut center Stefanie Dolson are among the seven college players invited to USA Basketball's mini-camp. - Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

With an eye on the 2014 WNBA draft, we do some catching up on the players invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team Training Camp earlier this week.

For the last few years now, we've selected a group of NCAA players to watch closely in preparation for the next season's WNBA draft.

This year we've already chosen a group of 10 players to watch during the 2013-14 women's college basketball season, which you can find in the "Library" drop down menu running across the top menu bar of our site (we'll have more about the "watch list" and how it was determined later). As it turns out, four of the prospects on our list were among the seven collegiate players who accepted invites to the 2013 USA Basketball Women's National Team Training Camp that was announced earlier this week (and another is currently playing tthe FIBA Americas Championship for Women).

So with the majority of WNBA teams already being disqualified from contention for the 2013 WNBA championship, we'll take a preliminary look at some of the top 2014 WNBA draft prospects with an overview of USA Basketball's list of invitees.

  • The USA Basketball release about the Women's National Team Training Camp included a quote from Geno Auriemma that frames the value of the mini-camp to looking ahead to the 2014 WNBA draft: "I think what the Committee did, which I think is interesting, there are a lot of young WNBA players who are on the list, and with an eye toward the future there are players who have excelled at the college level already and who have also excelled at USA Basketball at a young age, who three years from now, four years from now, are going to be WNBA players." Also of note: San Antonio Silver Stars head coach and GM Dan Hughes and Connecticut Sun Vice President and General Manager - who represent two of the four teams in the 2014 WNBA draft lottery - were involved in the selection process. Read more >>>
  • Tom Reisenweber of the Erie Times-News writes about Notre Dame's Kayla McBride being selected to the team. McBride was even specific about looking at this as an opportunity to prepare for the WNBA: "I can't wait to meet and talk to some of the WNBA players and hopefully it's me next year," McBride said. "It's a really cool opportunity to learn from them on and off the court. The WNBA factor puts a little bit of pressure on me because I aspire to reach that level." Read more >>>
  • Maryland Athletics offered an overview of Terrapins star Alyssa Thomas' success as a college athlete, including the following tidbit that sort of speaks to her value as a draft prospect: "She is the only player in NCAA or WNBA history to average over 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game for a season." Read more >>>

  • Rich Elliott of the Connecticut Post reports that UConn center Stefanie Dolson is "100 percent" after recovering from the stress fracture that that she persevered through the 2013 NCAA Tournament with. With Dolson expected to play a significant role in UConn's quest to repeat, wearing better shoes is part of the plan to stay healthy. Read more >>>
  • KWTX had a report - with a video package - on the three players with Baylor ties who were selected for the Vegas mini-camp, including quotes from Kim Mulkey and Odyssey Sims. Read more >>>

  • Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times took a look at players with ties to the state of Washington, which also happens to be a survey of the point guard situation. Washington products Briann January and Courtney Vandersloot were both invited, though January would miss the camp should the Indiana Fever make the WNBA Finals. Evans reports that Seattle Storm star Sue Bird will attend the camp, but not participate as she continues rehab. Read more >>>
  • Cyrus Langhorne of SOHH summarizes the buzz around a Skylar Diggins twerking video floating around the web, quoting an article from Complex Sports that read, "This isn't some type of coping mechanism for the disappointing ending to the season, although it would be funny if "#sadtwerk" suddenly became a trending topic because of this. Diggins looks like she's legitimately having a good time." Also, Diggins was selected for the mini camp. Read more >>>
  • Stanford Athletics supplemented its post about Stanford alums Jayne Appel and Nneka Ogwumike being invited to USA Basketball's mini-camp with a tweet about current senior Chiney Ogwumike's invite.
  • The Canadian Press reports that Notre Dame center Natalie Achonwa recorded a double-double in Canada's win over Puerto Rico in the 2013 FIBA Amercias Championship for Women last night. Achonwa said it's a relief "To be able to get rid of the jitters of qualifying and now to play for the gold, it will be a great experience." Read more >>>
  • Hamilton Scores summarized Canada's victory over Cuba in the FIBA Amercias tournament, which gave them first place in Group A with an undefeated record. Notre Dame post Natalie Achonwa finished with a team-high 8 rebounds for Candace, helping to establish a 47-28 rebounding advantage. Also of note, top recruit Kia Nurse, who we had an article about this past week, finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Read more >>>

For a look at the full USA Basketball mini-camp roster, check out their website. For more on the FIBA Americas tournament, check out FIBA's dedicated website.

Tonight, Brazil (featuring Minnesota Lynx draftee Damiris Dantas) will face Puerto Rico at 5:45 p.m. Xalapa Time (equivalent to 6:45 p.m. EDT) and Canada will face Cuba in the Gold Medal game at 8 p.m. Xalapa Time (equivalent to 9 p.m. EDT). FIBA's website has a brief preview.

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