USA, WNBA & Candice Dupree
Sept. 15, 2010 • Salamanca, Spain
Candice Dupree had an impressive WNBA season in 2010. Starting in all 34 games played, Dupree averaged 15.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 66.4 percent from the field and 93.6 percent from the free throw line to help the Phoenix Mercury to the WNBA Western Conference Finals. Dupree is hoping, however, that this September her list of accomplishments grows to include a roster spot on the 2010 USA Women's World Championship Team.
Dupree currently is one of 17 players in contention for 12 positions on the USA World Championship squad, and the official roster is not due to FIBA until Sept. 21. After training in Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., where the USA posted exhibition wins over Australia on Sept. 10 and Spain on Sept. 12, the USA women are training in Salamanca, Spain through Sunday, Sept. 19.
The Women's National Team Committee and USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut) will have a few more games to watch, including another friendly against Australia on Sept. 17, a game against the winner of Spain versus Senegal on Sept. 18 and a scrimmage against Czech Republic on Sept. 20 in Brno, Czech Republic, before a decision must be made on whom to keep.
The competition is intense, but Dupree told USABasketball.com, she knows what she needs to do in order to earn her first appearance in a USA jersey in a major international competition.
had an impressive season with Phoenix this year. Do you consider reaching the
WNBA Western Conference Finals a successful season?
No. I think we could have done a lot better than that. The season was a little up and down from the beginning. We started off pretty bad, and we got better. But, you know, next year we'll still have the same group of players. We should be a lot more consistent.
shooting 66.4 percent from the field and 93.6 percent from the free throw line
Lay-ups. Our offense allows for us to get up and down the floor a lot, so I got a lot of easy shots in transition -- a lot of lay-ups. That's not to say I didn't get the ball on the block and make post moves and all that, but I think just getting out and running is what allowed me to get such easy shots.
your free throw percentage?
That's a first! In college in think I averaged about 50.0 percent. It's just mental, and I knew that Phoenix is a great free-throw shooting team, so I couldn't come in there and stink it up.
must be especially proud then?
Absolutely.That's the highest percentage I think I've ever shot for an entire season.
did you do with the few days you had between the end of your WNBA season and
joining USA training camp?
I didn't really have time to do anything. I didn't leave Phoenix until Wednesday because we had exit interviews and all of that stuff. I went home for about a day and half, just to unpack and re-pack, and then I went to Connecticut.
do you feel physically?
I'm OK right now. I guess the two or three days that I did have off kind of helped me out a little bit. But at the same time, you don't want to get out of shape. So, I think I'd rather just keep going. My body is OK. I made it through the WNBA season without any major injuries.
about mental fatigue?
There isn't too much mental fatigue. There is a lot to take in trying to go from one offensive system to another with Coach Auriemma's system. So, I'm trying to just soak it all in and learn as fast as possible.
this help you move on from your playoff loss?
I think so. You have to move on from one thing to the next. I can't sit and dwell on it when I know I have to focus on USA Basketball right now.
played for Geno Auriemma for three games in Russia in 2009 and at the USA Basketball
training camp over the WNBA All-Star break, are you comfortable in this system?
Am I comfortable? Not yet. I think being that I came to this camp a little later than some of the other players, I have a little bit to catch up on. And even though I did play for him in Russia, you kind of forget that because then you had to move into the WNBA season. So, you're constantly learning new systems. I just have to focus in and try to pick things up as fast as possible.
you like this scheme?
I do. It allows for everybody to score, a lot of different options. You can have five or six options out of one different set, so I think that's the thing that's the best about it.
of the players in camp have a long list of accomplishments, yet five people
will not make the final roster. What is the atmosphere like as you all compete
You just have to practice and play as hard as you can, know that you left it all on the floor. It's unfortunate that not everybody is going to be on the team, but you know that going into it. So, you just have to do what you can and try and not worry about that.
you know what you need to do to make this team?
My biggest thing is just to play hard. I've talked to coach before, and he wants me to go different speeds. For my entire career, I've kind of gone at the same pace, and it gets the job done. But with USA Basketball, I'm just trying to work on going faster at certain points and slower at other times. I think defense is a big thing, and I know he wants someone to be able to crash the boards, so I just have to work on that stuff.
would it mean for you to play in the 2010 FIBA World Championship?
It would be a huge deal for me to be able to compete with the national team, play in the world championship and hopefully the Olympics. So, it would be, I guess to this point, the highlight of my career.