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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

July 17, 2006 at 6:37 PM

Team mystery

While Jan Striling, the Australian national team coach, makes her WNBA rounds to evaluate players for her team dubbed the Opals, the committee in charge of filling the final four holes for Team USA is still mulling over players and statistics.
According to sources, the Americans wanted the final spots named in time for the All-Star break in New York on July 12, which was exactly eight weeks from when Team USA would open preliminary round play against China. The players would have been cross-marketed at a high media attention period and the committee would also like to move on with setting the training schedule and promoting the upcoming World Championship.
But the play of rookies Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix) and Seimone Augustus (Minnesota) put a crimp in that plan. Neither looked that fabulous in recent international play due to travel problems for Augustus and adjusting to different rules.
Yet, the duo’s ability to burst into the WNBA and make such an immediate impact — each wining player of the week honors, being named to the All-Star team, and being among the league’s top-three scorers — has some committee members rethinking earlier assessments. (Pondexter’s chances of making the team may have slimmed, however, due to missing a game with tendinitis in her knee)
Team USA needs a backup point guard for Olympian Sue Bird (Seattle), depth to develop for the future, and some strong defenders, especially since forward DeLisha Milton-Jones (Washington) is out with a knee injury, but should return by August.
Looking for those final pieces is not where the Americans would like to be with competition for an automatic Olympic berth just months away. But darn, those rookies are good.

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