Three Sky Players Invited to USA Basketball Training Camp
The four-time defending Olympic Gold medalist USA Woman’s Basketball Team is looking to capture a fifth straight gold medal this summer in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. Hopefuls to join the 2012 team this year include three Sky players. All-Stars Sylvia Fowles and Shameka Christon, as well as first round draft pick Courtney Vandersloot were each invited to attend the USA National Team’s training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 10-12.
Sylvia Fowles is no stranger to the Olympic games. She trained with the 2007 USA National team while still in school at LSU. Later she helped the 2008 USA National Team to the FIBA Diamond Ball gold medal and was apart of the 2010 gold medal FIBA World Championship team. Fowles started three games and averaged 8.9 ppg. and 4.3 rpg. in fewer than 14 minutes a game, and is ready to add to her impressive Olympic record in 2012. Shameka Christon, a five-time invitee for USA Basketball trials, missed most of the WNBA season last year due to injury, but is eager to secure her spot with America’s best.
Leading and coaching the USA team this year will be University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “I can’t wait to get these guys on the court in Vegas,” said Geno Auriemma, 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. “This is going to be the first time we’ve had this many together and healthy at a training camp, and it’ll be interesting to see how bad some of these guys want to make the Olympic team, how much they hustle, fight for rebounds, I’m really looking forward to that. When asked about the recently added Courtney Vandersloot and Brittney Griner to the training camp list he said, “Adding in the two new kids, Griner and Vandersloot. I’m anxious to see how they interact with some of the veterans. Certainly they’re a couple of great players, but I’m excited to see them go up against our National Team and try to earn their spot in our pool.”
Only three college players were selected to participate in the camp this year in the hopes of being added to the USA National Team pool: the Sky’s Vandersloot, Maya Moore of UConn and Sophomore Brittney Griner of Baylor University. The No. 3 selection in the 2011 WNBA Draft, Vandersloot capped the 2010-11 season by leading Gonzaga University to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, the West Coast Conference Tournament and regular season titles and a 31-5 record. She earned numerous 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.
The Olympic basketball competition will be held July 28-Aug. 12 in the Olympic Park Basketball Arena and North Greenwich Arena. Aside from the host country Great Britain and the United States, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, the 12-nation field has not yet been set for the 2012 Olympic Games.