Friday, August 2, 2013
The Nike Nationals came down to two teams – Cy-Fair Team Ogwumike from Texas and Cal Stars Nike Elite from California. In the end, the cowgirls knocked off the Cal-girls.
Cy-Fair was led by Ariel Atkins, who is committed to play for the University of Texas. Atkins had 31 points in the win, more than doubling the next highest scorers. Of her points, 14 came in the first half, but down the stretch she smothered any hope of a Cal Stars comeback. After the Stars pulled it within 7 with 5:36 to go, she took over and led her team to a 69-59 win.
Atkins was backed by teammate Brooke McCarty, who had 14 points. Sabrina Ionescu and Mariya Moore both had 14 points for the Stars in the loss.
Clemson out in full force
While most of Clemson’s athletic teams have enjoyed great success in recent years, the women’s basketball team hasn’t joined the party.
The Tigers haven’t posted a winning record or played in a postseason tournament since the 2003-04 season. Following eight years of struggles, Clemson might have hit rock bottom last season when it posted a 6-22 record and Head Coach Itoro Coleman was fired.
Now a new regime, led by recently hired head coach Audra Smith, is trying to build a foundation for future success. In early July, Smith announced the addition of Abrea Harris, Sade Chatman and Paige Mosley to the program and she, as well as her staff, has remained active on the recruiting trail.
Smith and assistant coach Marc Wilson have been at the Nike Nationals, scouting players who could be future additions to the Tigers and help Smith with her rebuilding job.
“We’re trying to change the atmosphere,” Wilson said on Monday, as he’s preparing for his fifth season serving as an assistant to Smith, joining her after she left UAB for Clemson. “We want to condition the kids to Coach Smith, her philosophy and ideals.”
Famous coaches scout for new talent
As was the case with the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam on the boys’ side, plenty of coaches from the highest levels of women’s college basketball joined Brandt in attendance at Riverview Park on Saturday.
Leading the way was University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who has won eight national championships with the Huskies, the most recent coming this season. He also led UConn to back-to-back undefeated seasons in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.
Also watching the games were Georgia head coach Andy Landers, Clemson head coach Audra Smith and Oklahoma State’s Jim Littell.
Junior watches from the stands
Former Major League outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. caught a couple basketball games instead of fly balls on Saturday.
Joined by his family, the 13-time All-Star got to see his daughter Taryn Griffey play twice for Central Florida Elite. The 5-foot-7-inch guard is No. 45 on the HoopGurlz ranking and is committed to Arizona.