UConn junior All-American and reigning National Player of the Year Breanna Stewart is among 27 players that have been named to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team roster, USA Basketball announced today. Former UConn All-Americans Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi are also on the roster.
The team, which is coached by Geno Auriemma, opens training camp at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland Sept 8.
“The 27 who have been invited represent a cross section of what the USA National Team is ultimately all about,’’ Auriemma said in a statement. “It’s some of the best players in the world. It’s a combination of past Olympic and World Championship gold medalists. It’s also young players who have also won gold medals at various levels of USA Basketball, pros in the WNBA, college players, veterans and rookies and everything in between. I think we’re going to be able to pick a 12-player roster that’s going to be as good as any team we’ve ever had.’’
The final 12-member USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team will be named prior to the start of the FIBA World Championship, which will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey. The U.S has won a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals at the FIBA World Championship and is a combined 97-21 at the event.
Hartley and Connecticut Sun star Chiney Ogwumike were invited to join the USA National Team by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which will also select the 2014 USA World Championship Team. The committee consists of USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations Reneé Brown, San Antonio Silver Stars head coach and general manager Dan Hughes, Connecticut Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist Katie Smith, who played in nearly 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008 and serves as the athlete representative.
“Coming out of college last year, two of the best players in college basketball, they distinguished themselves over four years playing at the highest level and now they’ve gone onto play in the WNBA as rookies,’’ Auriemma said. “With Chiney in Connecticut, I’ve had a chance to follow her progress. She’s been absolutely amazing and no one competes harder than Chiney does. Bria’s gone to Washington and played a great role in helping them make the playoffs this year with such a young roster that they have. So, I’m excited about the possibility of having both of them in the camp. I know both of them really wanted to be there last fall and couldn’t, so this is a great opportunity for them and I’m looking forward to seeing them out there.’’
Said Callan: “Bria Hartley and Chiney Ogwumike were both invited to the USA National Team training camp last fall, but were unable to make it. They have remained on the committee’s radar and with their USA Basketball international experience and play this season in the WNBA, the committee felt that we should extend an invitation to continue their involvement with the USA National Team.’’
The players on the roster that are not playing in the WNBA Finals will participate in training camp at the U.S. Naval Academy Sept. 8-10. The U.S. will host the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Showcase, a Red vs. White intrasquad game Sept. 11 at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center (7 p.m.; ESPN2) and will face Canada and UConn incoming freshman Kia Nurse at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport Sept 15 (7 p.m.; ESPN2).
Tickets for the USA Basketball Showcase can be purchased through the Bob Carpenter Center box office, by calling 302-831-2257 or online via ticketmaster.com. Tickets for the USA-Canada game can be purchased at the Webster Bank Arena box office, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.websterbankarena.com.
The U.S. will then play four exhibition games in Europe against 2012 Olympic silver medalist France, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Australia, 2010 FIBA World Championship silver medalist Czech Republic and 2013 FIBA Asia bronze medalist China prior to the start of the World Championship. It will also compete in the France International Tournament in Paris Sept. 19-21, facing Australia Sept. 19, China Sept. 20 and France on Sept. 21.
The U.S. will travel to Prague, Czech Republic for an exhibition against the Czech Republic Sept. 23 before traveling to Istanbul.