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Jordan Dibiasi on Her First USWNT Call-Up

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Jordan DiBiasi is a midfielder for the Washington Spirit. The 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NWSL draft, DiBiasi played her college soccer at Stanford, where she helped the Cardinal win the 2017 College Cup. DiBiasi spoke with Just Women’s Sports from the national team’s camp in Florida, where the USWNT is training for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup.

How has your first national camp been? 

It’s been awesome. It’s been a really, really good experience, and I’m super thankful for it. This has always been a dream of mine, but I didn’t have any idea that it would happen now. I mean, on the first day, I came in and they were recapping qualifying games. And I’m like, oh my goodness, I was just watching those on TV at my house, and now we’re talking about the strategy they had going in. It’s also been cool to see everyone at this level because I’ve competed against them in the NWSL, and I trained with a lot of them in college. But to see them united and all together in person, day in and day out, on and off the field has been amazing.

You’ve played with a lot of these players before. What’s it like having so many familiar faces around? 

I think it just gives me a lot of confidence because there is this sense of familiarity, even if it is a totally new environment. And outside of the people I already knew, everyone’s been really cool to me. We had pick-up hours before training started, where we were playing on small goals, and my team was literally Andi [Sullivan], Tierna [Davidson], Lindsey [Horan], and Rose [Lavelle]. I was on cloud nine. It was so much fun. And off the field, they’re all very inclusive. I don’t really feel like I’m burdening them as much because I know them, and we’re friends [laughs].

Does it feel like a big jump from the NWSL or does it feel like you’ve been here before?

I feel like as you go up the ladder, it’s always a little faster. The biggest thing I’ve noticed here is that everyone’s on the same page, so the speed of play and the speed of thought is really, really fast. Everyone is being proactive in their runs. They’re all just so smart and efficient. Sometimes when you’re watching soccer, you think, “Oh, it’d be cool if someone did X, Y, then Z.” But now on the field, everyone’s so in sync and playing at such a high level, they’re actually executing it, which is amazing. They don’t even have to talk about it, they all just know what to do, and they do it all with one touch. They play it perfectly with the right pace and the right texture on the ball. It’s the little details and the slightest of things, but they’re expert at it and they do it very nonchalantly. A lot of times I’m like, oh, that was sweet. I would act way more excited if I did that [laughs].

How did you find out you’d been called up? 

I was in Colorado training in the off-season, and it was right before I went back to DC. And I got this message from my coach in DC, and he told me to call him after I talked to Vlatko. I was like, wait, what? It totally came out of left field. And then I got this email about SheBelieves and Vlatko called. He basically said he wanted to bring me into the environment and expose me to it and see how I did just so I could get comfortable. All I could think was, holy smokes.

Everyone dreams of playing with the USWNT. What was it like to have come true? 

Obviously I was super excited. You never know when you’re going to get these opportunities, and this was something I’d been dreaming about for a long time. When I first found out, I was just overwhelmed. I was just like, wow, and I called my parents, and they said, what? And I told them, I know, I know, I’m so excited. But I’ve also competed with a lot of these players before, and I always believed that if I worked hard, I could get to this level. I know I’m here for a reason, so now I just have to give it my best shot.

What was your mindset when you actually arrived at camp? 

I didn’t have any expectations. I told myself, you know, I’ve been training really hard. I’ve always really wanted this. I know I can compete, and I’m just going to give it my best. That was my thought process, and I think it’s paid off. It’s a different level, and I don’t really know the system and I’m still learning all the details. And because it’s been my dream for so long, obviously I’m a little nervous. But I’ve been able to take a step back and just enjoy it. I’m embracing it and trying to learn and grow as much as I can.

And getting called up once isn’t my be-all, end-all. I want to be on this team, so now the question is, what am I going to do with the information I get from this camp, and how am I going to better myself when I go away in order to give myself the opportunity to come back.

It sounds like there’s a bright future for you. 
Okay, so SheBelieves is this weekend. You were called into camp, but you won’t be on the roster. What will game day be like for you? 

I’m going to the game, and I get to sit in like a box or something. I’m not exactly sure what the set-up is, but I’m really excited. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to get to stay for the game, but now that I am, I’m just super excited to see what everyone is like before the match, what they do and how they handle it. Are they listening to music? Is it quiet? Like, what’s the vibe? And then to watch them play will obviously be really fun.

You’ve been in the ID camp, but this is like your first true call up. It ends in a couple days. What’s next for you? 

I have my process and I just want to keep working on that. This camp has been awesome, and the end goal is obviously to be consistently called in. I mean, that’s the angle. There’s a lot of steps I have to take to get there. And now that we’re starting the NWSL season, I’m taking what I learned from here, going back to my NWSL team, applying it, and working really hard. I’m totally invested in the Spirit, and I know that being the best version of myself is what’s going to help the team most, so I want to do whatever I can to bring my game to the next level.

This is only your second year in the league. What are some of your personal and team goals for the season? 

I’m super excited to not be a rookie anymore [laughs]. I made a lot of mistakes last year, so I’m excited to learn from them and grow. Our team obviously hasn’t met as a conjoined group yet because not everyone has been in DC. But without anything being said, we all want to win. Obviously that’s the end goal, but that’s everyone’s goal. So now we have to figure out how to make it happen. Last year, we didn’t make playoffs, so I think the first step is to do that. And then we’ll go from there.

NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup Kicks Off Interleague Tournament

Washington Spirit defender Jenna Butler races for the ball against Guadalajara's Alicia Cervantes in their first NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup
The Washington Spirit beat Guadalajara 2-1 to launch their Summer Cup campaign. (Caean Couto/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup's first match weekend is officially in the books, with most games failing to incite any cross-league fire.

NWSL clubs emerged victorious in the few interleague clashes, as Louisville defeated Rayadas 3-1, Angel City beat Club America 2-1, Washington defeated Guadalajara 2-1, and Portland thumped Club Tijuana 5-0.

Courage goalkeeper Marisa Bova misses a penalty kick in North Carolina's Saturday Summer Cup loss to the Orlando Pride.
North Carolina's Saturday group stage loss to Orlando came down to penalty kicks. (Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NWSL offense struggles without Olympians

With so many players out due to the previous international break and upcoming Olympics, NWSL Summer Cup lineups struggled to bring the same attacking firepower that propels regular season action.

Gotham earned points against Chicago in a penalty shootout win following a 0-0 draw, while regular-season league-leaders Orlando fell in penalties to North Carolina after a 1-1 finish.

San Diego and Kansas City fared better at the offensive end, defeating Houston and Bay FC, respectively, with a 3-1 scoreline, while Seattle beat Utah 2-1.

In the only all-Liga MX Femenil match of the weekend, Tigres took down Pachuca 4-2.

Thorns forward Ana Dias takes a shot against Tijuana defender Monica Alvarado during Portland's 5-0  Summer Cup victory on Sunday.
In one of four cross-league Summer Cup games last weekend, Portland routed Club Tijuana 5-0. (Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports)

NWSL and Liga MX teams square off next weekend

Next weekend's schedule might provide more intrigue, upping the number of cross-league games as each league strives for dominance.

Starting Friday, Tigres will take on Houston, Tijuana will face Seattle, Monterrey will battle Orlando, Kansas City will play Pachuca, San Diego will take on Club America, and Chicago will square off with Guadalajara in Cup play.

The Cup's three-weekend group stage will determine which teams advance to the August 6th semifinals, which take place before the NWSL season resumes on August 23rd. The subsequent Cup Final is slated for October 25th.

The Summer Cup will be competing for national attention as soon as the Olympics start, but the hope remains that the competition's unique format will spark some interest Stateside.

Where to watch the NWSL x Liga MX Summer Cup

All Summer Cup matches will air live across CBS Sports platforms including Paramount+, CBS Sports Golazo Network, and CBS Sports Network

Ogunbowale Leads Team WNBA to 2024 All-Star Game Victory

Arike Ogunbowale of Team WNBA celebrates with Caitlin Clark and Allisha Gray #15 of Team WNBA at the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game vs. Team USA
Arike Ogunbowale won her second WNBA All-Star MVP honors on Saturday after a 34-point second-half performance. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Team WNBA defeated Team USA 117-109 at the 2024 All-Star Game for the second-straight Olympic cycle on Saturday, fueled by a record-setting 34 points from All-Star MVP Arike Ogunbowale — all scored in the second half.

Ogunbowale has now won All-Star MVP twice in her career, with both instances coming in games against the US Olympic team. The Dallas guard withdrew her name from Olympic consideration earlier this year.

Team WNBA's Caitlin Clark passes around Team USA's Napheesa Collier at the 2024 All-Star Game
Team WNBA's Caitlin Clark's 10 assists broke the WNBA All-Star Game's rookie record. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

WNBA All-Stars put up historic numbers

The impending Olympic Games added an extra layer of pressure to this year's All-Star Game, with Team USA needing to develop chemistry as quickly as possible while a few WNBA All-Stars left off the Olympic roster seized the opportunity to prove themselves.

Caitlin Clark broke the All-Star Game assist record for a rookie with 10 assists, while Angel Reese became the first rookie in WNBA All-Star Game history to record a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Allisha Gray added 16 points off the bench for Team WNBA, one day after becoming the first player to ever win both the Skills Competition and the 3-Point Contest in the same year. Kelsey Mitchell and Nneka Ogwumike also scored in the double digits for the winning side.

"I think it was the same four years prior," Clark said of the game's final score. "Team WNBA beat Team USA and they were perfectly fine at the Olympics.

"If anything, it shows how good this league is, how much talent there is."

Team USA's Breanna Stewart drives to the rim over Team WNBA's Angel Reese during Saturday's 2024 WNBA All-Star Game.
Breanna Stewart's 31 points and 10 rebounds led Team USA at Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Team USA looks to improve in tight Olympic turnaround

For the US, losing the All-Star Game isn't the end of the world — they won gold in 2021 after the same result — but they definitely have room for improvement before their Olympic group stage tips off on July 29th.

Breanna Stewart led Team USA with 31 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow Olympic veterans A'ja Wilson contributed 22 points and Diana Taurasi notched 14.

The Paris-bound squad also notably worked players recently out with injury back into the fold: Chelsea Gray played only 11 minutes on Saturday, and Napheesa Collier tallied just three minutes on the court.

What's next for Team USA?

The US will play Germany in a final exhibition game in London on Tuesday before traveling to France on a quest to earn their eighth-straight gold medal. The national team's final pre-Olympic matchup will air live on FS1 starting at 3 PM ET.

Phoenix Mercury Unveils $100 Million Practice Facility

phoenix mercury practice facility's diana taurasi courts
The 58,000-square-foot facility includes two indoor practice courts with built-in courtside technology. (Phoenix Mercury)

As part of the 2024 WNBA All-Star Weekend festivities, the Phoenix Mercury officially opened the doors to their new state-of-the-art practice facility on Thursday.

Along with a host of player-driven amenities, the 58,000-square-foot, $100 million property showcases two full-sized basketball courts named after veteran Mercury star Diana Taurasi, complete with a one-of-a-kind Taurasi-inspired logo.

Phoenix mercury players celebrating at the new team training center's diana taurasi courts during wnba all-star weekend
The Mercury hosted a grand opening for their new practice facility during WNBA All-Star Weekend. (Phoenix Mercury)

The Diana Taurasi courts pay tribute to the three-time WNBA champion, six-time Olympian, 11-time WNBA All-Star, and the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer.

"Phoenix is the best basketball city in the world and continues to elevate the standard in women’s professional sports," said Mercury owner Mat Ishbia in a team release. "This practice facility is about hard work, passion, and greatness, all attributes that Diana Taurasi exemplifies, and we are honored to name our basketball courts after the greatest women’s basketball player of all time."

phoenix mercury weight room
From training to recovery, each aspect of the Mercury's new facility is geared toward player conditioning. (Phoenix Mercury)

With 24-hour access for players and staff, the practice courts feature built-in technologies capable of providing real-time performance analytics. The facility also includes a strength and cardio training area, indoor and outdoor turf training areas, a functional movement area, and a team meeting room with theater-style seating.

Amenities specific to athlete recovery are also on hand, including a dedicated physician and testing room, recovery room, hydrotherapy room with hot and cold plunge pools, freestanding underwater treadmill, and two massage rooms. The locker room is home to vanity stations, a sauna, a steam room, and a wellness room.

phoenix mercury players lounge
In addition to recovery and training areas, the facility also showcases a stocked player lounge. (Phoenix Mercury)

An area for players to relax and refuel, the onsite player lounge and kitchen is stocked with private chef, snack bar, pantry, and smoothie bar.

"This practice facility sets the standard for what it means to invest in women’s sports," said Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns CEO Josh Bartelstein. "From performance to recovery to team culture, we are providing our players with the space and amenities they need to be and feel their best."

phoenix mercury training facility
The new training center is a part the Player 15 Group's downtown Phoenix campus. (Phoenix Mercury)

The Mercury's practice facility is located inside the Player 15 Group's team member campus, headquarters to owner Mat Ishbia’s sports, entertainment, real estate, and investment company. the Player 15 Group's team member campus. Debuting this past April, the grounds also house business facilities for the Phoenix Mercury, Phoenix Suns, Valley Suns, and arena operations.

Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest Open 2024 WNBA All-Star Weekend

Team WNBA on the court at 2024 WNBA All-Star Weekend
The WNBA All-Star Game court will be buzzing with action on Friday night. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

While the 2024 All-Star Game doesn't tip off until Saturday, this year's WNBA Skills Challenge and STARRY 3-Point Contest promise to light up Phoenix's Footprint Center on Friday.

The evening's programming will allow fans to watch as towering center Brittney Griner shows off her speed and mobility before putting 2024's most statistically excellent three-point shooters to the test.

In addition to the two annual events, the night will also showcase the first-ever WNBA All-Star 3×3 Exhibition, with the Olympic-bound 3×3 National Team taking on USA Basketball's 3×3 U23 National Team.

To make things even more interesting, Aflac has promised to supplement the Skills Competition and 3-Point Contest's prize pool with a $55,000 bonus for each winner.

Team USA's Brittney Griner poses in her Paris Olympics uniform.
Mercury center Brittney Griner will test her speed at the All-Star Skills Challenge. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Skills Challenge highlights league's best

Perhaps the least straightforward event in Friday's series, the Skills Challenge — in which five players will compete in a timed obstacle course testing their dribbling, passing, speed, and shooting abilities —should come down to the wire. Each contestant will attempt to complete the course as quickly as possible, with the two fastest first-round players advancing to a head-to-head final.

Ten-time WNBA All-Star Griner (Phoenix) headlines the Skills Challenge roster, accompanied by Mercury teammate Sophie Cunningham as well as Allisha Gray (Atlanta), 2019 WNBA All-Star MVP Erica Wheeler (Indiana), and newly acquired Connecticut guard Marina Mabrey.

Mabrey will be competing in both the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest, taking the court for the first time since her requested trade from Chicago sent her the Sun.

Team WNBA's Jonquel Jones lines up a shot at Friday's All-Star practice.
Liberty ace Jonquel Jones leads Friday's stacked 3-Point Contest lineup. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Top shooters put their skills on display

Despite Sabrina Ionescu and Caitlin Clark reportedly declining to participate, some of the WNBA's best shooters will be on display in tonight's STARRY 3-Point Contest. Shooters will tally up points from five set shooting locations around the arc plus two additional "Starry Range" deep shots worth three points each.

2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones (New York) will enter a battle of the bigs with Washington's Stefanie Dolson, who sits second in the league in three-point field goal percentage this season with 48.5%.

But Jones and Dolson will face stiff competition from Kayla McBride (Minnesota), who leads the league in three-pointers made, as well as the aforementioned Gray and Mabrey.

Team USA 3x3 players Cierra Burdick, Hailey Van Lith, Rhyne Howard, and Dearica Hamby
Team USA's Cierra Burdick, Hailey Van Lith, Rhyne Howard, and Dearica Hamby will take on their U-23 counterparts in Friday's new 3×3 Exhibition. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

WNBA All-Star Weekend adds 3×3 Exhibition to the mix

Tonight’s debut 3×3 Exhibition will serve as a warmup for Team USA's Rhyne Howard (Atlanta), former WNBA player Cierra Burdick, college star Hailey Van Lith (TCU), and Dearica Hamby (Los Angeles), who came on to replace Sparks teammate Cameron Brink after her season-ending ACL tear.

The Olympians' U-23 opposition is also gearing up for a major event, with collegiate squad members Christina Dalce (Maryland), Morgan Maly (Creighton), Cotie McMahon (Ohio State), Lucy Olsen (Iowa), Mikaylah Williams (LSU), and Serah Williams (Wisconsin) set to play in the 2024 FIBA 3x3 Nations League tournament in Mexico City starting July 22nd.

Where to watch the WNBA Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest

All three events will air on ESPN starting at 9 PM ET on Friday, July 19th.

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