Ten past and present UConn women’s basketball players are among the 29 players named to the 2017-20 USA Basketball National Team pool.
The pool includes five college players, including Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier. Also on list are former UConn All-Americans Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who have been part of four Olympic gold medal teams. Each hinted that the 2016 Olympics might be their last, but they are competing for spots on the 2018 World Cup roster and appear to be on course for the 2020 Olympics.
Other UConn products among the 29: Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson, Tiffany Hayes, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck of the Connecticut Sun.
The pool will train Feb. 9-11 at the University of South Carolina, where USA national coach Dawn Staley is at the helm. The February minicamp will not include college players, so Samuelson, Collier, Louisville’s Asia Durr, Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell and South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson will not participate.
Also unavailable are players competing professionally in Asia, a list headed by Stewart. Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx and Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm are also playing Asia.
The pool includes 11 former Olympians: Bird, Taurasi, Stewart, Charles, Moore, Fowles, Seimone Augustus, Angel McCoughtry, Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Lindsay Whalen.
There are also two other Connecticut Sun players in the pool: Chiney Ogwumike and Courtney Williams. WNBA players Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jantel Lavender, Kayla McBride, Nneka Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims round out the roster.
“I’m incredibly pleased with the pool of players that make up the 29 and the different experiences that they bring to the team,” Staley said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to putting my stamp on this training camp, because it’s new, it’s different. Yet, you can give the 29 members of the pool anything to run, and they’re going to make you look good. We just have to get together to form some chemistry. Many of us have been together and worked together, just not in this capacity. So, anytime we can get the USA National Team together and work for a few days, it’s only going to benefit us in the long run.
“Anytime you can assemble the best players in our country together in one place, it always is an incredible thing. I think USA Basketball has done a great job of making things convenient for everyone in bringing people together in a place in which, I think everyone who comes will be pleasantly surprised at what Columbia has to offer and what our university has to offer. It’s a tremendous time that will be spent wisely, and it’ll be enjoyable.”
The national team selection committee is made up of USA Basketball Women’s National Team director Carol Callan, UConn coach Geno Auriemma, New York Liberty coach Katie Smith, Sun coach Curt Miller and Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler.
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