Aside from Storm F Swin Cash’s BlackBerry crashing and new coach Geno Auriemma stating his former Connecticut players (read Cash and Sue Bird among the large group) aren’t doing the best at the tryout/training, everything looks good at USA Basketball.
Day 1 of practice at American University in preparation for the 2010 World Championships in Czech Republic was Wednesday and USA Basketball tweeted that today’s session was even more competitive. The organization put some video up on its site, you can checkout Cash on the wing wearing a No. 11.
Cash, who had outpatient back surgery in March, is trying out, not selected to represent USA Basketball for the 2008 Beijing Games. She wore No. 15 when she competed in the 2004 Olympics.
Bird (pictured right with Auriemma by AP) is part of the core group and expected to be on the final roster and participating in the 2009 USA Basketball National Team Fall Showcase at 9 a.m. (PST) Sunday. The showcase will include team drills, an intrasquad scrimmage, a question and answer session with Auriemma and a post-practice autograph session with selected players. The selected team will then play in Russia beginning Thursday.
Not in camp, of course, is MVP Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter, and Indiana stars Tamika Catchings and Ebony Hoffman, who are battling for the WNBA title. Game 2 is tonight in Phoenix on ESPN2. Los Angeles F Candace Parker is expected in USA Basketball camp Friday.
Sun coach Alvin Gentry took GM Steve Kerr and Indiana legend Larry Bird’s lead, buying the normally closed upper bowl and giving away the tickets for tonight.
“After watching the game from San Diego and feeling the playoff atmosphere from the crowd, I wanted to show my support for these ladies,” he said in a release. “We see the hard work they put in on the practice court and in the weight room and I encourage people to take this opportunity to witness what we see every day. I respect and admire Coach [Corey] Gaines’ position right now and hope that the Suns find the chemistry the Mercury have this season.”
The move by Kerr and Bird didn’t cultivated a sellout like Seattle and Detroit had for its respective championship runs, but the lack of demand shouldn’t signal a demise of the WNBA as some sportscasters have claimed. The WNBA reports TV viewership is up and ESPN2 is doing a better job airing the game. Still not enough replays, but it’s getting there.
And this time around, people have more time to grab those free tickets. We’ll see if it makes a difference. What should get people down to the game however, is the play on the court.
Phoenix always puts on a show, going 22-2 in games where they score 100-points or more, and Indiana is one of the top defensive teams in the league. You can’t get a better matchup of fundamental opposites fighting for one trophy. If Gentry would throw in a plane ticket, I’d be there.