Sloot Named to Team USA
Courtney Vandersloot, who already has achieved much in her rookie season, from earning a starting spot on the Chicago Sky roster to making the All-Star team, can now add USA Basketball team to her check-list of successes. Vandersloot who participated in the USA’s May training camp, has been added to the pool of eligible athletes to participate on the 2009-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team this summer in London. The addition of Vandersloot increases the USA National Team roster, from which the 12-member 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team will be named, to 26. Player selections were made by the five-member USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.
“I was really excited when I found out,” said Vandersloot. “I felt fortunate to even get the opportunity to train with them in May, but once I found out they were adding me to the pool I was really excited. It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to play and learn from some of the best players in the world. I thought maybe later in my career, I would hopefully be given this chance, but I really didn’t think it would be this soon. To even be considered is an honor.”
The third overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, Vandersloot is currently averaging 8.5 ppg. and a league seventh-best 4.4 apg. for the Sky. Among rookies this season Vandersloot in fifth in scoring and first in assists.
Prior to joining the Sky, she capped her 2010-11 collegiate season by leading Gonzaga University to the NCAA Elite Eight, the West Coast Conference Tournament and regular season titles and a 31-5 record. Vandersloot earned numerous 2011 All-America accolades, took home the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation’s top player 5-8 and under, was named the WCC Player of the Year and also was named to the NCAA Tournament All-Spokane Regional Team. In her final year at Gonzaga, the 5-8 guard averaged a double-double of 19.8 ppg. and 10.2 apg.
Geno Auriemma, 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach said she fit right in with the rest of the team during the Team USA training camp in Vegas and proved that she deserved to be there.
“I’m glad that the committee has added her to the team,” he said. “I was impressed by the way Courtney picked up everything quickly. You tell her once and she’s running it. She’s very smart and can do a lot of different things that you need in a point guard.”
Only two rookies made the USA team this year. Vandersloot from the Sky and Maya Moore from the Minnesota Lynx. Also announced to the USA team today was Baylor University junior, Brittney Griner. The three will join veteran stars from the WNBA including Diana Taurasi from the Phoenix Mercury, Swin Cash from the Seattle Storm, and Cappie Pondexter from the New York Liberty.
Four-time defending Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. will look to capture a fifth straight gold medal and extend its 33-game Olympic winning streak at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. The Olympic basketball competition will be held July 28-Aug. 12 in the Olympic Park Basketball Arena and North Greenwich Arena. Three countries have claimed spots in the eventual 12-nation field, including host country Great Britain; the United States, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship; and Russia, winners of the 2011 EuroBasket. Four additional teams will earn spots this year by claiming gold at the remaining four zone qualifying tournaments, while the final five teams will earn their spots at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.