Ariel Massengale, Bashaara Graves going for more gold with U.S. teams

Tennessee's Ariel Massengale, left, and Bashaara Graves puts pressure on Auburn's Julie King at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Tennessee won, 83-61. 
  
 (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Ariel Massengale, left, and Bashaara Graves puts pressure on Auburn's Julie King at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Tennessee won, 83-61. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Two Tennessee Lady Vols will see the world this summer courtesy of USA Basketball.

Point guard Ariel Massengale left for Colorado Springs on Tuesday to begin practicing with the U.S. World University Games team. The Games are July 8-15 in Kazan, Russia.

Bashaara Graves

Bashaara Graves

Ariel Massengale

Ariel Massengale

Forward Bashaara Graves, meanwhile, will play for the U19 team in the World Championship for Women July 18-28 in Panevezys, Lithuania. She leaves for Colorado Springs on Monday to begin practice. The team will play a warm-up tournament in the Canary Islands July 12-14 before heading for Lithuania.

“I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” Massengale said in a UT release. “Just being able to represent your country and play the game you love and being able to compete with some of the best players in the world.”

The 5-foot-6 junior has played on three U.S. teams that won gold medals in international events. In 2011, she averaged 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game and made the five-player All-FIBA U19 World Championship team.

With seven guards on the U.S. World University roster, Massengale will be in a tough battle for playing time. The group includes standouts such as Baylor’s Odyssey Sims, Bria Hartley of Connecticut and Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel. Massengale scored one point in the Oklahoma City Regional final on April 2 and was totally eclipsed by Schimmel, who scored 24 points in leading Louisville to an 86-78 victory.

UT coach Holly Warlick said Massengale has “worked hard in the offseason.” The U.S. team practices alone ought to be a good gauge of whether or not the work is paying dividends.

“I’m going to learn a lot from my teammates and coaches and just bring that experience back,” Massengale said. “It will help me bring some leadership to my teammates here at Tennessee.”

Like Massengale, Graves also has played on three U.S. teams that brought home gold. The 6-2 sophomore played on the U18 national team last summer, averaging 7.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in the FIBA Americas Championship. She followed up by earning SEC freshman of the year honors this past season.

“I’m excited to play on the USA team again,” Graves said in the release. “Getting the opportunity to play for your country is always awesome.”

Graves will be playing for the same U.S. coaches as last summer. The staff includes LSU coach Nikki Caldwell, a former Lady Vol player and assistant.

“Bashaara is a product of hard, hard work,” Warlick said. “Bashaara has earned that position and I think she’ll do a great job.”

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Comments » 5

SummittsCourt writes:

Congrats to both and bring home some more gold. They will represent the US well.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Congrats to both and bring home some more gold. They will represent the US well.

They already HAVE represented the US well, on several different levels, according to the article! I have been somewhat critical of Ariel's play, but clearly folks a LOT higher up on the food chain see something special in her. I don't see how she can get much playing time on that squad, but it is probably worth her time just to practice with that bunch and see where she has to improve.

On the other hand, I expect Bashaara to make a major impression on her team. She has the raw-boned build and competitive nature that works well in international ball. She doesn't have to be fed to score.

Have fun, work hard, win, and--pleaseopleaseoplease!--DON'T GET HURT!

vol4life1983 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

They already HAVE represented the US well, on several different levels, according to the article! I have been somewhat critical of Ariel's play, but clearly folks a LOT higher up on the food chain see something special in her. I don't see how she can get much playing time on that squad, but it is probably worth her time just to practice with that bunch and see where she has to improve.

On the other hand, I expect Bashaara to make a major impression on her team. She has the raw-boned build and competitive nature that works well in international ball. She doesn't have to be fed to score.

Have fun, work hard, win, and--pleaseopleaseoplease!--DON'T GET HURT!

Ariel has the talent to play with these girls it going to be all about consistency. And although UConn won a championship this past season bria didn't have a great season and even Odyssey didn't have her typical season. She has to go in with that same confidence she had as a senior in high school if she is going to help this team as well as the Lady Vols next season. If she puts it all together offensively and defensively then I expect to see UT battling UConn or Duke in Nashville for the title.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to vol4life1983:

Ariel has the talent to play with these girls it going to be all about consistency. And although UConn won a championship this past season bria didn't have a great season and even Odyssey didn't have her typical season. She has to go in with that same confidence she had as a senior in high school if she is going to help this team as well as the Lady Vols next season. If she puts it all together offensively and defensively then I expect to see UT battling UConn or Duke in Nashville for the title.

Good post; ditto to all.

voloffaith writes:

USA! USA! USA! get the picture? USA! USA! USA!

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