Dishin & Swishin 8/01/13 Podcast: Celebrating USA Gold with coaches Sherri Coale and Katie Meier; Monique Currie and the Mystics, Camille Little and the Storm look to hold on
It has certainly been a golden summer for USA Basketball. First, the USA World University Games team won the gold medal Kazan, Russia. Loaded with guards and short on centers, USA Basketball swept through pool play by defeating the Czech Republic, Brazil and Mali. They defeated Sweden handily in the quarterfinals, struggled but held off Australia in the semifinals and dominated France in the finals. Baylor guard Odyssey Sims was co-Most Valuable Player of the tournament, and Connecticut’s Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis were the leading scorers, while Central Michigan’s Crystal Bradford emerged as a rising talent.
To top it off, the USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team won gold at the U19 World Championships in Lithuania. While the offense scored over 100 points in five of the nine games, the defense was dominant, only allowing 60 points twice and holding a talented France team to 28 points in the gold medal game. Again the Connecticut players took center stage, with Breanna Stewart (Most Valuable Player) and captain Morgan Tuck leading the team in scoring while Moriah Jefferson handled point guard responsibilities. Duke’s Alexis Jones and high school standout A’ja Wilson excelled. Bashaara Graves of Tennessee was the unsung hero of the team, playing whatever role the team needed her to, and excelling on defense.
Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale led the World the University Games team and Miami’s Katie Meier was the U19 head coach. Both did an amazing job pulling together talented teams with no cohesion, and making them smooth-flowing, high-powered juggernauts. Both join Dishin & Swishin together, to celebrate their success, on today’s podcast.
Topics discussed with the two coaches include why USA Basketball is so successful, seeming to win tournaments at will, how they managed to get their teams to play so well in such a short period of time, the talented players and why they are so successful (notably, the five UConn gold medalists), and the roles of their assistant coaches (all talented head coaches themselves). Of course there were team specific questions as well, such as how coach Coale enjoyed having Sims on her team instead of against her, and the joy of having Oklahoma’s Aaryn Ellenberg share the experience. Coach Meier discussed coaching such different age groups, having college sophomores mixed with soon-to-be high school seniors.
With gold on each of their resumes, who wants to take over the senior National team if Geno Auriemma continues to say no? You will have to listen to find out the answer.
Then it is back to the WNBA. The All-Star break is over, the August 15 trading deadline is fast approaching, and the races for the final playoff spots will be intense.
In the Eastern conference, the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever hold the third and fourth spots, one game ahead of the New York Liberty. The Mystics played the Liberty for the first time this season last night, and fell 88-78 at home. Still, the Mystics like where they are and their odds of making the playoffs.
Veteran forward Monique Currie has seen the Mystics at their highs and at their lows. She returns to Dishin & Swishin to discuss the first half of the season and the team’s preparation for the rest of the summer. Currie discusses the difference in team attitude and approach under Mike Thibault, and the infusion of youth and new talent. She talks about Ivory Latta’s importance, and the rock that is Crystal Langhorne and the old ACC rivalries she had with both. Can the Mystics hang on for the postseason? Find out why Currie feels they will indeed be in the playoffs.
In the Western conference, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Phoenix are all looking strong, and it is going to be a fight between Seattle, San Antonio and Tulsa for the fourth slot. Right now it belongs to the Storm, an impressive achievement for a team missing two of the best players in the world for the entire season in Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.
Tina Thompson may be the bigger story, as she completes her final season in the WNBA and was named to an All-Star spot, but Camille Little has been the on court leader of the Storm. Having perhaps her best year as a pro, Little leads the team in scoring, while improving both her field goal and free throw percentage. Little is on Dishin & Swishin for the second time as well, and topics range from the season with Thompson, the injury plague in the WNBA, how the team succeeded in the first half and what it needs to do in the second half to hold onto a playoff spot.
A packed Dishin & Swishin podcast this week! Enjoy!