Point guard Sue Bird, the definition of a money player, had 11 points, 3 assists, 5 steals and — no surprise — not a single turnover. One of the latest to join the U.S. team because she was busy winning the WNBA title with Seattle, Bird did what she does best.
“There isn’t a better point guard than Sue, for a lot of different reasons,” Auriemma said. “Because of how smart she is, how perceptive, what a great teammate she is. She’s a leader, and you can count on her. She makes big shots at big times. She inspires her teammates to be better in subtle ways. When she’s running your team, you don’t have a lot to worry about.”
- The AP’s Doug Feinberg, who covered the team in the Czech Republic, focuses on the apparent bright future of the U.S. National Team.
Bird had an easy explanation for why the transition period didn’t seem to last long. The U.S. talent pool is deep.
“We could send the second 12 and we could win this tournament,” she said. “Other countries don’t have that second 12. Their best players are on the court. If we can continue that as USA basketball I see good things happening for a long, long time.”
- Lee Michaelson of Full Court Press was also in the Czech Republic and wrote about how there was apparently no loser in Sunday’s final.
But to look at the Czech team, giddy with excitement, practically doing backflips over their first-ever Worlds silver medal, you would have thought they’d won it all. (For that matter, the Spaniards seem pretty ecstatic about their bronze—also a first.)
“The reason, I think, is simple,” said Czech captain Hana Horakova. “Before this tournament, nobody would think that our team could press into the four best world teams, not speaking about winning a world championship medal. This is a great success for us. It is a celebration that is very much deserved and it definitely will go on tonight.”
- The story getting the most attention around the Storm is Opals Head Coach Carrie Graf telling the Australian Associated Press that she would like her players, including Lauren Jackson, to take the 2012 WNBA season off to allow the team to prepare for the Olympics.
Having seen Australia slip from defending champions to fifth at the basketball world championship, however, when the complete Opals group only came together two days before the tournament, Graf is pushing the idea hard.
“That’s something I’d like us to work with Basketball Australia to get done for the London Olympics,” Graf told AAP.
“Whether we can make it happen or not we’ll see, but that’s been in the plans and been presented and we’ve talked about it.”
There are a couple of important bits of context to remember. First, Jackson has been clear in the past that she considers playing in the WNBA her best possible preparation for the Olympics. Second, the Olympics are very different than the World Championship in that they typically take place in the middle of the WNBA season rather than at the end of the year. Jackson was fatigued after a full 34-game schedule and a grueling playoff run this time around; the 2012 Olympics will be very different. That said, 2012 might be Jackson’s last best shot at the Olympic gold medal she covets. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this story between now and then.
- The Canberra Times says that the Capitals see Alison Lacey as the “final piece” in their puzzle.
‘‘There’s no question in my mind after what I saw that Alison is going to fit straight into the Caps program and I’m very excited to be involved with her,’’ Lucas said.
‘‘Any athlete that is drafted No 10 in the WNBA, there’s obviously something special there.
The WNBL season kicks off on Friday.
- This is a bit old, but the Winston-Salem Journal caught up with native Camille Little during her brief trip home.
Catching up with Camille Little these days isn’t easy.
She’s fresh off winning her first WNBA title with the Seattle Storm, but she’s also on the move, trying to figure out what time zone she’s in.
“I’ve been home for a few days here in Winston staying with mom and dad,” Little said on her cell phone while driving to see friends in Chapel Hill. “I’ll only be home for a few days, and then I’ll be going overseas to play more ball.”