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Monday morning links: USA Basketball makes cuts, 2014 Phoenix Mercury's case as best ever, and Diana Taurasi

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10 links from the weekend to get your week started, including the latest on USA Basketball cuts.

After leading the Phoenix Mercury to the most wins in WNBA history, 2014 WNBA Finals MVP Diana Taurasi is looking for more hardware.
After leading the Phoenix Mercury to the most wins in WNBA history, 2014 WNBA Finals MVP Diana Taurasi is looking for more hardware.
Photo by Getty Images.

The 2014 WNBA Finals concluded on Friday night with a Phoenix Mercury sweep and we've been breaking that down from a few different angles over the weekend.

But we'll begin with the big news today: Team USA's cuts, which were announced last night in advance of tonight's game against Canada.

Team USA

  • USA Basketball announced who would be traveling to Europe as finalists for the Women's National Team, excluding four players: Washington Mystics guard Bria Hartley, Indiana Fever All-Star Briann January, 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike, and 2014 All-WNBA Second Team selection Danielle Robinson. (H/T theLaplaceDemon for posting the fanshot yesterday evening). Read more >>>
  • Rich Elliott of the Connecticut Post reported that UConn junior Breanna Stewart, who will remain with Team USA, was in good shape to make the team prior to yesterday's cut. Coach Geno Auriemma commented, "Stewie does what she does. You’re not going to play 30 minutes. You’re not going to be out there a long, long time. But you have to be impactful while you’re out there and so far she’s done that.’’ Read more >>>
  • Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday that, "Fowles, Vandersloot and Elena Delle Donne had been invited to the training camp that began Sept. 8 to select a U.S. team for the upcoming World Championship in Turkey. USA Basketball will announce Monday if any of the three have been asked to travel Tuesday to Europe, where the final roster will be picked." (As announced by USA Basketball, the same goes for the Phoenix Mercury's candidates.) Read more >>>
  • Jānis Kacēns of LoveWomensBasketball tweeted something interesting a week ago that we missed: apparently, Ekaterinburg demanded that Candace Parker heal her knee before joining their team, which is why she opted out of USA Basketball training camp.  His source was this Russian basketball article (translated to English using Translate Google)  which has a quote from Ekaterinburg's club director Maxim Ryakov:  "The operation was our persistent wish that Parker was ready for the start of the season. Player who is one of the leaders of our team should be ready to perform their duties at the club. We are waiting for the return of Candice in operation in the vicinity of 20 October."  See the tweet >>>

WNBA

  • Mechelle Voepel of espnW tackled the question of whether the 2014 Phoenix Mercury are the best WNBA team ever and included some insight directly from Diana Taurasi about what makes a great team: ""It starts with great coaching and individuals that are willing to go outside themselves. It's hard to pull your game back when needed for the overall good of the team. I've been there where I didn't adjust as well in some seasons. But it's those seasons where everyone is willing to do that when you come out with something special." Read more >>>
  • Brian Martin of WNBA.com also explored the question of where the Phoenix Mercury rank among the best teams ever, with a combination of numbers and quotes, including Taurasi's other point about one of the things that defines the 2014 Mercury in that discussion: "I don't know if there's a team that defensively and offensively can just hurt you," said Taurasi, after being named Finals MVP for the second time. "Our past Phoenix teams were all-out offense. We were going to outscore you. Those Detroit teams -- all-out defense. I don't know if there's been a mix of this type of versatility in this league ever." Read more >>>
  • Jim Fuller of the New Haven Register reports that Diana Taurasi's third WNBA title matches Swin Cash for the most WNBA title of any UConn alum. For whatever it's worth, that appears to be the most pro basketball titles for any UConn alum, male or female -- Ray Allen has the most in the NBA with 2. Read more >>>
  • Matthew Paras of The Depaulia wrote a feature about DePaul alum and Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley and her journey from being outside of the WNBA to European star to WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year in the WNBA Finals. And it's a nice reminder of all the many variables that go into the development of a basketball player: playing time, readiness, and finding the right coach who can put you in a position to succeed. Read more >>>
  • D'Joumbarey A. Moreau of FanSided wrote an interesting piece from the perspective of a male WNBA fan on Saturday to add to the chorus of voices discussing the state of the league. Moreau is of the generation that grew up watching the WNBA and shared a three-pronged marketing approach, which includes specific concept suggestions for ads (that I'm sure people will have thoughts on, for and against). But what stood out to me was this point: "On more than one occurrence Diggins has had a lot more searches than the WNBA in a 12 month time span. On the flip side, I conducted the same experiment with LeBron James and the NBA. In a 12 month time span, he has never been searched more than the league. The point being, the WNBA has a star that is more popular than its brand, and that’s ok." It's an interesting way to look at branding and the league's identity, even if it's hard to know what to do with that information. Read more >>>

Got thoughts on these links or other links that you think are worth reading? Drop them in the comments below or create a fanshot.