HAMPTON, Va. - Part II of our look at some of the key players and head-to-head matchups at the 2007 Boo Williams Invitational:
April Sykes, Essence,|
vs. Elena DelleDonne, Comets
This was the matchup that shut the doors of the Midtown Community Center and was perhaps the most anticipated of the tournament. Sykes’ wishes the day before to guard DelleDonne were not honored as both coaches recognized the mismatches the two pose for each other. Sykes is too good off the dribble for DelleDonne to keep her in front and Sykes would have her hands full trying to stop DelleDonne on the pivot. By the official book both scored 17 points althouth their individual team books had different numbers. DelleDonne did her damage early and Sykes got hot down the stretch to spur a comeback that fell short. Both are amazing players but the head-to-head comparison is not apples to apples.
Kelsey Bone and Monique Oliver, WC Elite,|
vs. Chay Shegog and Laura Broomfield, Fairfax Stars
I didn’t see the box scores in this, but the matchup was pretty close with the power game of Bone and the finesse game of Shegog. Bone showed a focused aggressiveness that wasn’t there consistently last year and Shegog looked great attacking from the high post. Oliver is by far the most improved player I saw in the tournament from last year. Instead of showing she can be good here and there, she is getting it done almost every time down. She may be pushing Bone for top post honors in the 2009 class by the end of the summer because her drop step is powerful and explosive. Broomfield is returning from a major knee injury last year and was used in shorter stints than I expected. Her length continually bothered the offense when she was on the floor.
Caroline Doty, Philly Belles,|
vs. Elene DelleDonne, Philly Comets
Much like the DelleDonne-Sykes matchup, this was surrounded a lot of hype despite the two playing different positions. DelleDonne was on in this game and there wasn’t anyone she was going to let stop her. Doty pressed a little after a few shots rimmed in and out early. She made a great adjustment to start going to the cup instead of relying on her jumper. DelleDonne kept a close eye on Doty, coming off her person at the end of the half when everyone knew Doty was looking to get a shot off. This was one of the best games I’ve ever seen DelleDonne play, in all honesty, from her defensive presence to the multiple ways she used her skills on offense to controlling the tempo of the game.
Lauren Avant, Tennessee Flight,|
vs. Chelsea Hopkins, West Coast Elite
The matchup between Avant, the Tennessee commit, and Hopkins, from Las Vegas, was a great learning experience for Hopkins. She has all the quicks and ballhandling to get by almost anyone, but she started off unsure and not exploding out of her moves and attacking Avant. On the other hand, Avant has a smooth and cool demeanor about her on the court and it looks like everything comes easy. You wouldn’t know she is just finishing her freshman year if you didn’t have a roster because she plays with a maturity of an upperclassman with years of playing at an elite level. Avant got the better of the matchup, but Hopkins got a great experience playing in such a big and intense game and finding that her abilities are more than adequate at this high level of play. This should carry her into the summer.
Nneka Ogwumike, Cy-Fair Shock,|
vs. Lynetta Kizer, Boo Williams
This game featured two athletic posts - one with a speed and leaping advantage, the other with size and strength. For one of the biggest, strongest kids in the class, Kizer also is very mobile. She took a pass near half court, crossed over and, taking big strides down the left side to the cup, avoided a would-be charge taking defenders. The play felt like one of those plays where Shaquille O’Neal would grab a rebound and go coast to coas,t showing guard-like mobility and dropping the jaws of all those watching. Even with Kizer’s size she was unable to stop Ogwumike from scoring in the paint. Ogwumike is just too good at receiving the ball to be fronted for an entire game. She had some success using her athleticism to work her way into the passing lane and tip post-entry passes away. You’re never going to hold Kizer in the paint, but she did a great job in a physical game of limiting the easy buckets.
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Chris Hansen is the National Director of Scouting for Women's Basketball at HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com. He leads the panel that evaluates and ranks girl's basketball prospects nationally for HoopGurlz and Scout.com. 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.