Bob Carpenter Center, University of Delaware – The gym had a real “college” feel to it as the crowd sounded as if they were on top of the court. Delaware must enjoy a strong home court advantage, on this evening the Women’s National team would enjoy being the favorites. The crowd was filled with service men and women along with a strong contingent of WNBA fans. The only negative was that the hometown star wasn’t available, as Elena Delle Donne was competing in the WNBA Finals. There was still plenty of talent amongst the players that were in Delaware and they put on a great show.
The Red-White Scrimmage was played on the 13th anniversary of September 11th, that was not lost on the crowd as they sang the national anthem with the chosen singer word for word from start to finish. It seemed to bring everyone in the arena closer together, that being just one of the touching moments of the evening. The other moment being during halftime when the 17 players had a group of service men and women exchange gifts during a symbolic ceremony. The players gave the soldiers a coin with the USA Basketball shield on one side and the military branches on the other side. The soldiers gave the players dog tags, one of which had the soldiers information and the other having the player’s information. The deeper meaning being that “we’re all one team” and that the players “are not alone” as they embark on their journey to win the World Championships.
The game got off to a fast start for the red team, they jumped out to a very quick lead before the white team got comfortable. Starting the game for the Red team: Whalen, McCoughtry, Lavender, Sims & Moore. For the White team: Charles, Stewart, Augustus, Diggins & Bird. Keep in mind that this pool of players was still missing seven players that participated in the WNBA Finals, those players will be joining the pool this upcoming week in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The White team got back into the game fairly quickly due to a strong run to close the quarter, heading into the second period down just 20-15. Two bigs were key parts to that run, Tina Charles and Nneka Ogwumike. An interesting match up in the first half was Uconn Junior Breanna Stewart defending the 2014 WNBA Regular season MVP in Maya Moore. Stewart did a fairly good job, using her length to bother Moore as best she could. Moore wasn’t very aggressive on the offensive end, choosing to let her teammates shine in this exhibition game. She connected with Angel McCoughtry several times on back door lob passes, that resulted in layups. Lindsay Whalen showed why she’s one of the league’s best point guards, running the pick-and-roll with Shantel Lavender to perfection. Every situation resulted in a wide open layup for Lavender. Tina Charles started slow for the White team, but she took over the second quarter with her strong play. Charles and Nneka had some help as Seimone Augustus started to do what she does best, hit midrange jumper after midrange jumper. The Red team continued to score just enough to hold on to their lead heading into the half. Lavender led the way for the Red team with 14 points and four rebounds. Charles (12 points, 5 rebounds) and Nneka Ogwumike (10 points, six rebounds) led the way for the Red team.
The third quarter belonged to the White team, getting strong contributions from some of the younger players. Diggins and January made an impact that quarter, January was far more assertive and started to look for her shot a bit. While Diggins did a good job of running the offense and setting the table for her teammates, she also got in on the scoring. One of the best plays of the evening was a well executed three on one fast break; after forcing the a Red team turnover, Diggins pushed it up court, passed to January who dropped it to the trailing Stewart for an easy lay up. Stewart looked as if she was high enough to dunk the ball, but chose the safe option. The White team ended the quarter with a 65-62 lead.
The fourth quarter was exciting, Whalen had been focused on dishing the rock for much of the game. That wasn’t the case in this period as she started the quarter looking for and hitting her shots. While Stefanie Dolson didn’t play a ton of minutes, she did convert two And-1 opportunities. Each of them after setting a good screen and rolling to the basket while finishing through contact. The White team didn’t go quietly as Charles and Nneka continued to dominate inside. The White team had some youngsters step up for them in the third quarter, the Red team’s youngsters made an impact in the final period. Of them all, Kayla McBride stood out, she was found several times behind the arc and knocked down the shots. None better than when Maya Moore drove down the right baseline and threw a cross court pass that fell to a waiting McBride that calmly sank the triple to give the Red team an 81-76 lead. The Red team was able to build the lead to nine before the White team responded, both teams would trade baskets until the end of the game resulting in a win for the Red team.
There was no true loser of this game, if anything it only proves that training camp battles and scrimmages may be more competitive than FIBA play. The United States is not suffering from a lack of talent, in a short time they appear to have good team chemistry as well. We’ll keep you updated on their play once they land overseas to play in the tournament!
- There is still a sizable gap between the younger players and the”STARS”
- Briann January may have one of the best chances to stick on the roster of all the youngsters in the player pool
- Breanna Stewart is SPECIAL, has a pro-ready skill set. Just needs to add strength
- Whalen,Bird, Taurasi will make it hard for any young guard to make the roster
- Nneka Ogwumike was extremely active on both ends of the floor, would be a good fit on the team
- Plethora of wings with Moore,McCoughtry, Augustus
- The pick-and-roll will be a huge part of the offense
- Will be a good rebounding team
- The future is in good hands with the youngsters that made the cut to participate in camp