LSU duo fighting for spots as four will be cut
BATON ROUGE, La. -- For LSU basketball fans it may be hard to imagine Seimone Augustus or Sylvia Fowles fighting for a spot on a team.
Augustus is a big star with tons of awards. Fowles is a 6-foot-5 post player who dazzled fans and opponents with her power and speed as a freshman.
This week Augustus and Fowles are on their way to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the second round of the USA basketball tryouts along with Lady Tigers coach Pokey Chatman.
"I'm trying to see how much can I get out of my ability," Fowles said.
Fowles and Augustus, are among 16 finalists vying for 12 roster spots on the U.S. team that will compete in the World University Games Aug. 10 to 19 in Izmir, Turkey.
Chatman will be an assistant coach for the team.
"I just have to go in there with the right mind-set and be ready to work," Fowles said. "Everybody that's there is there for a reason."
Augustus, who led the United States to gold in the 2003 World Championship for Young Women, is optimistic that Fowles will be on the team.
"I think she just has to continue doing what she's been doing all summer and that's just working hard and being more aggressive," Augustus said. "Throughout pickup games you can see the difference since she made since the first cut. Her mind-set has changed."
The 24-team tournament gets under way Aug. 10 with pool play and continues through Aug. 19 with the gold medal game.
"We're going to strive to win a gold medal, but at the same time we know it's going to be a little bit tougher because we're playing against older, more advanced players than what I was a part of two years ago," Augustus said. "It's still going to be a great experience but it's going to be something we can learn from if you plan to play in the future. You're probably going to have to play against these players in the future."
The United States is part of a pool with China, Czech Republic, Poland and the Republic of South Africa. The United States meets Czech Republic in its opening game Aug. 10.
Augustus, the consensus college national player last season after leading LSU to a 33-3 record and second Final Four appearance, is expected to be key component for the U.S. after being voted MVP for the gold medal-winning U.S. team two years ago.
"You kind of understand what the USA Basketball people are looking for as far as making the team," Augustus said. "Once you make the team you understand that you're not playing against people in America. It's a different style of basketball and you have to adjust your game to the way they play."
Fowles is one of five centers remaining on the roster and is the youngest player among the finalists. She is attempting to earn her first berth on a U.S. team after injuring her back during the USA Basketball Women's national team trials in 2004.
"I never thought I would make it this far," Fowles said. "Everything is possible if you're willing to work. I'm just excited."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press