Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wrapping Up the College Tour

Since I've last updated the blog, the U.S. Women's Senior National Team has completed its college tour ...

... but first, let me make sure everyone sees this link: WNBA.com has an interview with MVP Lauren Jackson as part of its "Have You Seen Her?" series.

Q. Do you have a motivational saying or motto that you look back at whenever you need that extra bit of motivation?
A. Yeah, something that got me through a lot of hard times and some difficult situations is this: 'Power and control come from letting go.' Once you let go of everything, power and control come back. That's my thing."

... alright, back to our main topic. The U.S. women finished up at 8-0, completing the West Coast portion of their tour last week.

Last Sunday, it was at Texas A&M, where they overwhelmed the host Aggies 75-24. In a pair of matchups in the state of California, we saw a familiar theme - close games in the first half that turned into easy victories late. USC put a real scare into the U.S., leading 36-33 at halftime before the USA put together a 19-3 run early in the second half to take command. Thursday in Stanford, the U.S. women finished up the tour with a 97-62 win over Stanford. Sue Bird scored 19 points in that one to lead the USA.

"The college tour was really good for us," Storm Head Coach Anne Donovan said after the final game. "We had goals with every game and it wasn't until this eighth game that everything came together, from the first minute to the 40th minute. Everybody played well in this last game against Stanford. We had great competition on this college tour. I don't think we could have asked for anything more from these eight games."

"Coach stated what our goals were and those were to finish strong and have a complete game," added Bird. "We kind of struggled at times, but I'm really glad that we can finish this tour with a good taste in our mouth.

"As a whole, it's been a lot of fun. We all got to play, a lot of us got to visit, see our old college teams, like Jamie (Carey), or even our hometown teams like Diana (Taurasi) and Lisa (Leslie) getting to play in L.A. It was really a good experience."

Check out USABasketball.com's quotes for more from Donovan on the college tour. I also enjoyed this response from Bird on playing for Donovan on the National Team as compared to for the Storm:

"At the core of it she's the same, has the principles, the same game plan," Bird said. "For me it's very valuable, especially as a point guard. People might not always understand a play or why we're doing what we're doing and I can be a voice during the game. That's very helpful. She's pretty much the same. If anything I think she probably has to coach a little less here because we're so good. At the core of it, it's the same."

With the college tour in the books, the U.S. women won't reunite until the spring. As for the blog, it's time to begin focusing on the action overseas. Bird and Taurasi were scheduled to fly to Russia to join their Spartak Moscow squad this week, while Lauren Jackson arrived and made her season debut last week and Euroleague play is well underway. StormTracker will have all the details through the spring.

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