Four Mercury Players Named to WNT Pool
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 13, 2014) – Including 14 Olympic and/or FIBA World Championship gold medalists, the 33-player 2014-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team and, if the U.S. qualifies, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be selected, was announced today. The USA National Team pool will be fluid, and athletes may be added at any time by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.
Highlighting the returning veterans are three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); two-time Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks); 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx); and Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) and Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), who were members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Further, Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), members of the 2010 USA World Championship Team that won gold, have been named to the pool.
Also named to the 2013-16 USA National Team roster were: DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (University of Connecticut), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Glory Johnson (Tulsa Shock), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (University of Notre Dame), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Odyssey Sims (Baylor University), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) and Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars).
“I think the game has changed tremendously and we are fortunate that the pool is probably greater than it’s ever been,” said Geno Auriemma, 2013-16 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. “The gap between those that have won gold medals and those that are still playing for the USA Basketball National Team and those that want to be part of it who are younger and have made a name for themselves is narrowing every year. I’m excited that we have so many great players to choose from.
“It’s always difficult when you’re trying to put together a team. It doesn’t always come down to picking the 12 best players, putting them on the team and let’s go. I think there are other factors that go into it, and hopefully the committee and the coaches can come up with a team that is capable of winning gold medals and represents the U.S. in the best possible manner. At the same time, part of the goal needs to include preparing for life after some of these great Olympians who have won multiple gold medals. I wish it was as simple as picking the leading scorers and leading rebounders or just picking the most famous players in the WNBA and let’s go get ‘em! But it’s a lot more complicated than that so it will be very difficult.”
The USA Basketball Women’s National Team over the next three years will compete in the 2014 FIBA World Championship (Sept. 27 - Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey), and if the USA qualifies, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5 - 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
Four prior USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year honorees are listed on the roster, highlighted by three-time honoree Taurasi (2006, 2010, 2012), as well as Augustus (2003), Charles (2009) and Stewart (2011, 2013).
The USA National Team pool features 32 athletes who have competed for USA Basketball internationally during some point in their career and 18 members of the 2009-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team: Appel, Augustus, Bird, Catchings, Charles, Dupree, Fowles, Griner, Harding, Lawson, McCoughtry, Moore, Parker, Pondexter, Taurasi, Vandersloot, Whalen and Young.
The pool includes 10 of the last 12 No. 1 picks in the WNBA Draft: Griner (2013), Ogwumike (2012), Moore (2011), Charles (2010), McCoughtry (2009), Parker (2008), Harding (2007), Augustus (2006), Taurasi (2004) and Bird (2002); 13 All-WNBA selections: Augustus, Bird, Catchings, Charles, Delle Donne, Fowles, McCoughtry, Moore, Parker, Pondexter, Taurasi, Whalen and Young; and 19 WNBA All-Stars: Augustus, Bird, Catchings, Charles, Delle Donne, Dupree, Fowles, Griner, Johnson, McCoughtry, Moore, Ogwumike, Parker, Pondexter, Robinson, Taurasi, Vandersloot, Whalen and Young.
Five of the six collegiate athletes boast impressive international credentials. Dolson, who was injured in 2013 and unable to try out for the USA World University Games Team, won gold medals at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship; McBride was on the 2010 U18 squad; Mosqueda-Lewis won gold medals with four teams, including the 2009 USA U16 National, 2010 USA U17 World Championship, 2011 U19 World Championship and 2013 USA World University Games teams; Sims has a pair of gold medals from the 2011 and 2013 USA World University Games teams, earning World University Games co-MVP honors in 2013. While Stewart is the youngest on the roster, she owns the most international experience among the collegians. Stewart captured gold at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship, listed on the all-tournament team at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship after leading the U.S. to gold, earned gold and MVP honors at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and most recently was named tournament MVP after earning gold at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Additionally, Stewart was the lone high school athlete on the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team.
Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee include USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan; WNBA appointees Reneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations, Dan Hughes, San Antonio Silver Stars head coach and general manager, and Chris Sienko, Connecticut Sun vice president and general manager; 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.