Team USA will face Australia today at 11:30 a.m. EST with the roster getting closer to completion after some semi-expected news yesterday: the team is now down to 15 players with three more needing to be cut.
We'll jump in, beginning with yesterday's announcement about Elena Delle Donne.
- USA Basketball announced yesterday that Elena Delle Donne would not be playing with the team in the 2014 FIBA World Championships: "Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), the only other athlete who may be included among team finalists, is being evaluated by her physician and may join the team at a later date. Unable to compete for a spot on the 2014 USA World Championship Team due to injury are Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky) and Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky)." Read more >>>
- Doug Feinberg of the AP got Delle Donne's comment on the situation: "Playing for the national team has always been a dream of mine, but after a really grueling playoff run, doctors have been clear that my back just can't take it. It's disappointing to say the least, especially after fighting through everything else this season." Read more >>>
- Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune reported some additional details on the Chicago Sky players who didn't make Team USA: "Fowles had been fighting plantar fascitis and Achilles tendinitis the latter part of the season. Chatman said the team doctor put Fowles' foot in a stabilizing boot once the playoffs ended. According to Chatman, USA Basketball cut Vandersloot Saturday, but that never had been announced." Read more >>>
- Mike Prada of SB Nation wrote about Coach K's response to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski's criticism about using USA Basketball ostensibly to promote Duke. He summed up the situation fairly as follows: "It's no surprise that the college coaches involved with Team USA are fighting back. It's also no surprise that being associated with the very best basketball players can make an impression on a five-star, 16-year-old recruit. But is there anything unfair about that?" In other words: there's little question that it does give him -- and, similarly, UConn's Geno Auriemma -- an advantage. The question is whether that's unfair or if it's a problem that needs to be addressed. Read more >>>
- Sara Bibel of TV by the Numbers posted the press release about the WNBA's TV ratings for the 2014 WNBA Finals: "ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 WNBA postseason generated the largest television audience for the event since 2007, posting double digit increases in ratings and viewership over 2013." Read more >>>
- Scott Melesky of Team Fenom got Michael Cooper and Angela Taylor's thoughts on the Atlanta Dream's 2014 WNBA season, which ended up falling short of expectations after making the WNBA Finals in three of the last four seasons. Taylor offered this assessment of what they need to do during the offseason: "We also need more depth in the post. We need a low block presence so we are looking for somebody who can play the four or five and offer a little bit more on the low block. And we certainly would want players who could play both ends of the floor and allow us to play either a small lineup or a large lineup like we did toward the end of the season when we had Sancho Lyttle at the three." Read more >>>
- Mechelle Voepel of ESPN weighed in on Diana Taurasi's off-hand comment about the Washington Mystics in her chat yesterday: "... if I were a fan of the team, I would not take what she said personally. I would hope that the team was on the right track, so someday they'll get their turn cheering on a championship team, too." Read more >>>
- Dana Caldwell of the Naples Daily News checked in with another report from FGCU, this time about how 6-foot-3 All-Atlantic Sun junior Whitney Knight worked with her military father to work on her conditioning. "Knight averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds and set FGCU’s single-season record with 93 shot-blocks last season. But she played an average of just 25.7 minutes, mostly because she would get gassed. Ditto for her freshman season when she averaged 17.1 minutes." That improvement alone could be a big deal for FGCU. Read more >>>
- Maddy Lucier of Stack.com reports that UConn had a work out with the U.S. Marines last week. And you thought they were getting a break with Geno Auriemma coaching the national team. Read more >>>
- The Big East announced its 2014-15 broadcast schedule for the Big East Digital Network in partnership with Fox Sports. Click here for details.