Winning another world championship in women's basketball will have to be done in the usual fashion.
While Geno Auriemma's USA players have been competing for various WNBA teams, the rest of the world's teams have been practicing together.
This is simply the way it has been since the WNBA began play in 1997, yet Team USA has won three of the four titles during that time (1998, 2002, 2010, losing in 2006).
"We unfortunately don't have the ability to do that [train together]," Auriemma said Tuesday. "We understand the issues and we deal with them."
In the end, winning it all might not be as difficult for USA Basketball as deciding which 12 players to take to Turkey for the FIBA World Championship Sept. 27-Oct. 5.
Auriemma, now in his second term leading the senior national team, confirmed Tuesday that 10 of the 12 players who helped win Olympic gold in London in 2012 want to help him try to win another.
Only Asjha Jones and Swin Cash will not return so, theoretically, that leaves just two spots open on this team. And that is far too few to accommodate the legitimate candidates that will be trying out when training begins Sept. 8 at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
"So, we'll just either add two new players or we'll need to leave off some players who were on the Olympic team, who want to play [again] and are really good," Auriemma said. "It's not an easy task, but it's a good problem to have."
Among the new contenders certainly will be UConn junior Breanna Stewart, the reigning Associated Press player of the year and the only collegian among the 27 players invited to try out for the team.
"Breanna Stewart has always competed above her age level. That's been her history with USA Basketball," Auriemma said Tuesday. "I know I am biased because I see her every day. But when [USA Basketball] trained in Las Vegas last fall [before the start of the 2013-14 college season] you would have been hard pressed to find someone who played better or was more productive during the camp than Breanna.
"If someone asked you to pick out the college player among the professionals, you would not have been able to say it was Breanna. Now, is she going to make the team? That remains to be seen. But is she comfortable competing and being successful against those players? Absolutely.
"She has a lot to improve on, don't get me wrong, but I would venture to say that players like Breanna, Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner, if you try to project into the future, are three of the players who may be next in line when we talk about those who could win three or four gold medals."
After training for three days in Annapolis, the team will move to the University of Delaware for an inter-squad scrimmage Sept. 11, an event that will include ceremonies honoring the 13th anniversary of 9/11. From there the team will head up the coast to Bridgeport for a scrimmage Sept. 14 and a game the next night against Canada at the Webster Bank Arena.
At that point, the team will play international exhibitions in Paris and Prague that will precede the start of play in the World Championship.
Along with adding players comes the inevitable responsibility of making the team younger. Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings, all future Hall of Famers, already have won three Olympic gold medals and 2016 would certainly be their last.
Unquestionably, all three are still playing at a very high level; Taurasi (Phoenix) and Catchings (Indiana) will lead their teams into the WNBA conference finals later this week.
Still, whether it's now or sometime before 2016, difficult decisions will need to be made to prepare the program for the future.
"Two years from now is a long time and a lot can happen," Auriemma said. "The team that goes to Istanbul may not be the same exact team that goes to the Olympics.
"So in one sense, it is first things first. We need to win the championship [in Turkey]. But at the same time, we need to keep an eye on 2016. It's a little more complicated than saying let's win and worry about it later."
That's particularly true in the backcourt where Bird, Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen are slowly nearing the end of their international careers.
"I wake up at night sometimes thinking of this," said Carol Callan, the national team director and member of the player selection committee. "We have so many players who have devoted years to the program. And you have to tell them we aren't going to take you this time?
"So far, I've been able to go back to sleep because I know the decision doesn't have to be made for a week or two. But it's extremely difficult because of what they've meant to us. … It's excruciating. It really is."
For Auriemma, this tour brings the comfort level that comes with familiarity, both with the job and much of the personnel.
"They [the players] know me, which could either be a good or bad thing," Auriemma said. "It's not automatically a positive. But there is a lot of continuity with the players. They want to be a part of this. We don't have to get on our hands and knees and beg them to play. They want to play."Copyright © 2015, CT Now