SUWANEE, Ga. – The Suwanee Sports Academy was filled with drama and excitement on Friday with the elite division quarterfinals and semifinals on the slate, as well as perhaps the longest game of the summer – a game between the Queen City Dynasty and Cincinnati’s Finest that was not decided until the sixth overtime had expired. Amber Gray would score 23 points to lead all scorers, but it was the last bucket by QCD’s Krista Goss that was the game winner. In the tournament semifinals there were two FBC teams, one from California and one from Georgia, Full Package and Tri-City Rock Solid. FBC Blue (Calif.) and Tri-City Rock Solid meet Saturday afternoon for the 2006 adidas TOC Championship.
Candice Brown, a 6-foot-4 forward from Moreno Valley, Calif., showed her versatility and athleticism for FBC Blue and helped them get into the tournament championship. She has good length to go with her athleticism. She’s a good receiver of the ball with very good hands, and her touch around the basket is impressive. She’s also a smart player who passes well out of the post. She showed she knows when to kick the ball back to the wing and immediately repost for better position and make the defense adjust.
Jaleesa Sams, a 5-11 wing/forward from New Castle, Penn., plays much bigger than her listed height. She is one of the most active players here and seems tireless. She hit some big free throws down the stretch in the quarterfinals to seal the deal for Tri-City Rock Solid. She has powerful post moves and good touch when she finishes.
Taja Wilson, a 6-2 forward from Pittsburg, Penn., came up big for Rock Solid in both the quarters and semifinals. She runs the floor hard and battles inside. She was very strong in the middle, grinding it out with the bigger FBC (Georgia) posts. She knocks down free throws and gets all the little things done.
Erica Morrow, a 5-8 point guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., had a solid day for Exodus NYC. She came out with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor. She knocked down some jumpers today as well, something she struggled with a little bit on Thursday. She got after the ballhandler defensively. Her handle is nice and if she can add some strength she would be even more effective breaking people down.
Andrea McGuirt, a 5-9 guard from Duluth, Ga., played with more heart than anyone I saw today. She kept fighting for FBC (Georgia). She had a great first half in the semifinals and would not let Rock Solid put a run together to pull away before half. She hit a big three with the game tied to give them some momentum before half. She slashed to the basket, finished with contact and ran the floor hard. Defensively she flew all over the court applying pressure. She played possessed Friday, despite the loss no coach would be disappointed with her effort.
Nikki Speed, a 5-9 point guard from Pasadena, Calif., looked much improved even from the high school season where she was already a good player. Speed has just that – speed. She pushes the ball up the court and is a savvy passer in transition. In the halfcourt she has the ballhandling and explosiveness to break people down and create shots off penetration. Defensively she has really been applying herself here in Atlanta and may be battling out Shay Selby for honors as the top ’08 point guard.
Cierra Windham, a 6-3 forward from Corona, Calif., did not look like a kid coming off her freshman year at Norco High School. She fought for post position, despite being relatively thin compared to the opposition's posts, as well as anyone in the tournament, sans Rachel Rentschler. She drops her hips and uses her body to get leverage on the defender and when she catches it she has a nice turn around jumper to her right with just a little bit of fade to get it off over bigger posts. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on the next two years.
Shennieka Smith, a 6-1 wing from New York City, N.Y., was the most impressive player on Exodus NYC Friday. She never stopped attacking on either end of the floor. She’s very quick and has the body of a wing player but that did not stop her from fighting for rebounds. She goes to the basket and gets to the free throw line. She also stepped out and knocked down some three point shots.
Chris Hansen is the National Director of Scouting for Women's Basketball at HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com. Chris leads the panel that evaluates and ranks girl's basketball prospects nationally for HoopGurlz, Scout.com and Full Court Press. Chris has been involved in the women’s basketball community since 1998 as a coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Complete 2006 adidas TOC Coverage Menu:
TOC Watch - July 14
Jaleesa Sams of Tri-State Rock Solid was among the standouts from Day Two.
Team to Watch: FBC Blue
FBC Blue, featuring several of SoCal's best, may be the best team on the adidas circuit.
TOC Watch - July 13
Our daily look at the top prospects, including elite 2008 point guard Shay Selby, among others.