Sophia Young Added To USA Basketball National Team Pool

SAN ANTONIO Silver Stars forward Sophia Young has been added to the 2011-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team, USA Basketball announced today. She joins the 27-player Women’s National Team pool with the opportunity to be selected to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.

“I am very honored to be considered among the top 27 who are in the pool,” Young said. “It’s a great opportunity, regardless of whether I get chosen or not. The tour in Europe was amazing, I had a wonderful time. When I was there I was just trying to do my best, trying to do my best to do whatever it takes to be a part of the team. I’m ecstatic that my work has paid off.”

A native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Young has lived in the United States since she was 15 and gained her U.S. citizenship on Sept. 2, 2011. She was invited to join USA Basketball on Sept. 26 for its five game European Tour. She started all five of the USA’s European exhibition games and averaged 8.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest.

“The thing that impressed me the most about Sophia when we went on the European Tour is how versatile she is, how easily she moves from one position to another and how well she’s able to get her shot off against players much bigger than she is,” said 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “From an offensive standpoint, she was certainly impressive in that regard. Defensively she’s versatile enough to guard both inside and perimeter players.”

A two-time All-American who helped lead Baylor University to the 2005 NCAA title, Young was selected by San Antonio with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft. A four-time WNBA All-Star, Young owns career averages in her six-year WNBA career of 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. A member of the 2006 All-Rookie Team and 2008 WNBA All-Defensive Team, Young in a three-time All-WNBA honoree, earning first team honors in 2008 and second team honors in 2007 and 2009. She played in 36 games for the Silver Stars in 2011, leading the team with 6.4 rebounds per game and 2.03 steals per game while ranking second with 13.2 points per game.

“We are very excited for Sophia to be a part of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool,” Silver Stars head coach and general manager and USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee member Dan Hughes said. “She has been an incredible player for San Antonio and the WNBA for several years now and this is a well deserved honor. With her new U.S. citizenship and now inclusion in the USA National Team pool we are so happy for her.”

In total, the 2011-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team now features a total of 27 players. In addition to Young, the team includes: Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota Lynx), Swin Cash (Chicago Sky), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Shameka Christon (Chicago Sky), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Baylor University), Lindsey Harding (Atlanta Dream), Ebony Hoffman (Los Angeles Sparks), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx).

Four-time defending Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. will look to capture a fifth-consecutive 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.

Seven 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 winning the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship; and five nations which earned the gold medal at their respective FIBA zone qualifying tournaments, including Angola (FIBA Africa), Australia (FIBA Oceania), Brazil (FIBA Americas), China (FIBA Asia) and Russia (FIBA Europe).

The final five teams will earn their sports at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (June 21-July 1 in Ankara, Turkey), which will feature 12 nations from each of the five 2011 FIBA zone qualifying tournaments.

The official 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team, expected to come from the 27-member 2011-12 USA National Team pool, and assistant coaches will be announced at a later date.

The USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee is comprised of WNBA representatives Renee Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; Hughes and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager of the Indiana Fever Kelly Krauskopf; athlete representative and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards and USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan.