October 04, 2014

ISTANBUL (AP) The women's world championship definitely has an WNBA flavor.

Thirty-five current or former players are in the tournament. WNBA President Laurel Richie is in Turkey and seven of the 12 teams have representatives there to support their players and scout others.

''This morning we had a meeting to talk about the league, hopes and dreams of the future,'' Richie said. ''It was so nice to have league coaches, GMs and it wasn't about your team affiliation and there was no agenda. It was just a nice chance to chat.''

Washington coach Mike Thibault was an assistant with the U.S. national team for the 2006 world championship and 2008 Olympics. He's come to the last two worlds as a fan to support his players and find potential new ones.

''Every year there's more and more players and more people from our league involved. It's a great chance to see a lot of really good players,'' Thibault said. ''You also get a chance to meet face to face some of the agents you deal with on the phone.''

Thibault was supporting Serbia's Jelena Milovanovic, who played in 16 games for the Mystics this past season. She was Serbia's leading scorer in the tournament.

The WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury were well represented on the court. Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Candice Dupree all play for the U.S. Penny Taylor and Erin Phillips are on Australia.

''One day you're their teammate, the next you're playing against them,'' Taylor said.

Australia and the U.S. faced off Saturday night in the semifinals.

It wasn't just about the basketball on the court. Connecticut coach Anne Donovan was also involved in a clinic put on by basketball's governing body, with a few hundred people in attendance from all over the world.


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