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Stewie and Jewell’s All-Decade Womens’ College Hoops Team

May 29 2020
Jewell Loyd
Seattle Storm
Breanna Stewart
Seattle Storm
May 29 2020

With sports on hiatus, The Players’ Tribune recruited two pros to draft an All-Decade womens’ hoops team — college edition. The full list of picks is below, along with a breakdown of the rationale behind each selection. Let the debates begin!

Breanna Stewart
We’re already on the team, right?

Jewell Loyd
We’re on the team! Player GMs, drafting the team that gets to play with us.

Stewie
Got it.

Jewell
And let’s just say, out the gate, this is in no particular order.

Stewie
Yeah, this is nearly impossible to do.

Jewell
I mean, no matter what, someone is going to be mad if they’re not on the list. But it’s all in good fun. We’ll accept any challenges for our picks, but before my comments blow up asking about Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi let’s be sure to clarify THIS IS FOR COLLEGE 2010–2019.

LET’S GO!


All-Decade Womens’ College Hoops Team:

MAYA MOORE, UCONN, 2007–11

ELENA DELLE DONNE, DELAWARE, 2009–13

BRITTNEY GRINER, BAYLOR, 2009–13

COURTNEY VANDERSLOOT, GONZAGA, 2007–11

TINA CHARLES, UCONN, 2006–10

KALEENA MOSQUEDA-LEWIS, UCONN, 2011–15

SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH, NOTRE DAME, 2009–13

NNEKA OGWUMIKE, STANFORD, 2008–12

ALYSSA THOMAS, MARYLAND, 2010–14

SABRINA IONESCU, OREGON, 2016–20

A’JA WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA, 2014–18

SATOU SABALLY, OREGON, 2017–20

Alternates:

KELSEY PLUM, WASHINGTON, 2013–17

KAYLA McBRIDE, NOTRE DAME, 2010–14

SHONI SCHIMMEL, LOUISVILLE, 2010–14

NATALIE ACHONWA, NOTRE DAME, 2010–14

MAYA MOORE

Stewie
I’ll pick Maya, first off. It’s Maya. Her name kind of speaks for itself. Competitive. Has won championships. We’re going strictly off of college résumés, and she’s one of the best to do it.

Jewell
Can’t really argue with that. Every time I think of Maya, I just think of her being a closer. I don’t know what game it was, but I just remember her doing this reverse layup and almost floating. And her hands are so big! Man, that was just amazing.

ELENA DELLE DONNE

Jewell
I’m definitely picking up Delle Donne. She’s just a special player from college to now. You can’t really guard her. She just dominated college ball, shooting over people. It was ridiculous. Too easy.

Stewie
Remember when she went back to Delaware for her senior year and made that run in the tournament? They were playing in Bridgeport, and just being able to watch the game — it was just like, wow.

BRITTNEY GRINER

Stewie
Next one I’m picking is BG. She was a senior when I was a freshman, and we played Baylor at XL. I will never forget that game because, first of all, I played like s***. I played like eight minutes, and I had a donut. But she was just dominant.

COURTNEY VANDERSLOOT

Jewell
I’m thinking I’m going to go with Vandersloot. She was pretty under-the-radar for a while, but I definitely remember watching her game at Gonzaga. She was just so crafty, I just loved watching her play. So much entertainment. And you could clearly tell that she knew the game really well at point guard. I just remember watching a game and being like, Man, she’s a great point guard.

TINA CHARLES

Stewie
Tina definitely needs to get on this list. I mean, I have to go with my other UConn person. I never played with Tina, but when she was playing I was committed to going to UConn and was just always paying attention. And the combination of Tina and Maya … I mean, to have them be at the three–four, or the four–five together, is difficult.

KALEENA MOSQUEDA-LEWIS

Jewell
O.K., next I’m gonna go with … KML. She was an assassin in college. It was the worst trying to guard her. She might as well just run down the court — just cash every time. All the drills we had to do about closeouts and making sure we knew where Kaleena was on the floor at all times was so annoying. But, yeah, she could shoot. And the look.

SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH

Stewie
Next, I pick Skylar. Maybe you can talk more about her since you played with her, Jewell, but when we were playing against Notre Dame, for you guys, she seemed like the head of the snake almost, with her intensity and leadership and maturity.

Jewell
Yeah, I think you’re right on. She was definitely the head of the snake for us. She held everyone to a very high standard, and she made sure that everyone was super accountable. With Skylar, you didn’t have time to make complaints or say, “Well, I’m just a freshman,” or whatnot.

Stewie
Also, she was just tough. She was always intense. And another thing is, she brought a different set of eyes, or brought more attention to women’s basketball — helped us bring things up to another level, and I appreciate how she embraced that opportunity.

NNEKA OGWUMIKE

Jewell
I’m gonna go with Nneka. I don’t think there’s like a harder worker than Nneka.

Stewie
For sure.

Jewell
She just does all the things that people kind of forget about, or don’t even teach. She outworks everybody. She’s super skilled at footwork, and she’s going to give you 100% every single time.

Stewie
Yeah, for sure. I think Nneka’s work ethic is like no other — she just has a nonstop motor.

Jewell
You definitely need players like that around because when a game’s on the line you know that they’re going to be right around the basket — they’re going to come up with a big block or steal or deflection — and that’s what Nneka brings to the game.

Stewie
Yeah, she’s on my list.

ALYSSA THOMAS

Stewie
I’m putting Alyssa Thomas on this list because of how she was at Maryland. She’s someone like Nneka, you know, she’s a workhorse with a nonstop motor. When I was playing against her my freshman and sophomore years, she was just tough, really hard to guard.

Jewell
Yeah, I agree.

Stewie
You couldn’t back up on her because she would just go in and take that layup. And if you jumped too much on her, she’d do her cut-and-spin move. It was hard to kind of play an in-between game with her.

Jewell
I remember Coach was like, “Just stay in front of her, you’re faster than her!” I was like a freshman, probably 130, like scared, thinking, There’s no way. Like what was I supposed to do to stop her? She already had like 30 on us, and I’m like, “All she’s gonna do is post me up, coach!” Like, worst decision ever. By far. Never understood that.

SABRINA IONESCU

Jewell
I’m gonna go with Sabrina. Gotta invest in the future of basketball, you know? We gotta have some rookies on this team, right?

Stewie
Right.

Jewell
What she’s done in college and how dominant she’s been — not only being able to pass the ball, rebound, and score, but also taking a program like Oregon and putting it on the map. She’s obviously played a big role in helping them create the culture that they have now. And, yeah, we need some youngbloods on this team.

Stewie
Yeah, definitely. I haven’t been around her in a basketball setting yet. But I think what she can bring in is the excitement — the spark — and her basketball IQ. That’s what’s going to be the first to translate to the pros. As long as she continues to understand her reads and what she’s doing, the rest will come. The physicality, and the speed, and the strength of bigger, faster, stronger players — it’s always gonna affect you a little bit when you come to the league. But I think she’ll learn quickly.

Jewell
Yeah, I agree. I mean, I haven’t been around her, but I’ve seen her play in person once or twice. She’s tough. I think her mentality is tough. It’s always an adjustment when you get to the league — everyone goes through that adjustment period. It just depends on how fast you pick it up, and learn, and put it back out. I think everyone’s kind of interested to see, you know, if she carries over the dominance, right? But I think she’s focused, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.

A’JA WILSON

Stewie
In my mind, she was already on the list. But I’m looking at this, and I don’t see her, so I’m gonna put A’ja on here.

Jewell
Oh, yeah! It’s a given.

Stewie
Yeah. A’ja was one that stayed home, playing at South Carolina. I think she really continued to develop a lot as she went on, from where she started as a freshman to where she finished as a senior — winning a national championship. You know, I know from when we played against her a few times, at South Carolina and in Gampel, she’s hard to guard, especially being a lefty and having her shot be so high. It messes you up on where you think you’re supposed to contest it, and where you should contest it.

Jewell
Yeah, I definitely agree. And it’s something about lefties. It just plays like in your….

Stewie
I wish I was a lefty. I want to be a lefty.

Jewell
RIGHT.

Stewie
But, yeah. I think she learned how to win a championship, and I think having Dawn Staley be the coach, the two of them together really figured it out. And it helped A’ja going forward to her WNBA career.

SATOU SABALLY

Jewell
My last pick — and not just because my nephew is a big fan — is Satou Sabally. And I really like her game. Every time I watch her I’m like, Man. She’s long, she’s lanky, she can handle. She’s working on her three-ball.

Stewie
Yeah, I like her game. She’s got the potential to be a really dominant pro.

Jewell
And she’s played overseas. She’s not new to playing against older players. There is a certain toughness there and you can tell she seeks out those challenges. And having some kind of FIBA background is always good to have in your back pocket — that you play here and overseas. But I like her game a lot.

Stewie
I mean, I’d like some alternates.

Jewell
Yeah, definitely. How about you do two, and I do two.

Stewie
O.K., I’m putting Plum on the list. I mean, what she did in college — scoring so many points, breaking all those records. You have to recognize that, kind of like with Sabrina, she put U-Dub on the map. And then for my other one, I’m picking K-Mac because … I think I just have PTSD from Notre Dame lol. And she’s been part of that team, and she’s really hard to guard. Her midrange, her one-dribble pull-up. She has it down in the WNBA, and it was her favorite thing to do in college. Her name has just continued to grow. But, I mean, between her and Skylar and YOU, it was tough. It was tough.

Jewell
Yeah, it was fun. It was fun. Until we lost the championship. Then it was irrelevant.

Stewie
I mean, can’t win ’em all, can ya? lol

Jewell
That was a low-key swipe coming from you, Stew. LOL … I’m gonna go with Shoni Schimmel.

Stewie
I like that one.

Jewell
In Louisville. She was….

Stewie
SHONI TIME!!!

Jewell
YES. I mean, she was entertainment. It was fun to watch. I mean, she’s a wizard with the ball, fearless, and she just brought in even more excitement to women’s basketball. What she did for Louisville was pretty cool to see. And then I’m going to go with Natalie Achonwa, just because playing with her was amazing at Notre Dame. For us she was just really a point guard almost, especially when we played our Princeton offense, which she loved doing. She was just a great passer, 15-foot jump shot, very vocal. I loved playing with her. And I’m glad she’s been able to have a great career in the league after her knee injury at Notre Dame. So that’s my last pick.

Stewie
Nice. That’s our team!

Jewell Loyd
Seattle Storm
Breanna Stewart
Seattle Storm