The USA Basketball Women’s National Team training camp on Feb. 21-23 will be held at the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center on the Storrs campus. Athletes taking part in the camp, which is expected to be the final training before the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team is selected, will be chosen from a pool of 25 of the nation’s top women’s basketball players, including six former or current Huskies.
Former UConn players among the finalists are WNBA players Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury). Breanna Stewart of the current UConn women’s basketball team is the only collegiate athlete among the finalists for this year’s official 12-member U.S. Olympic team.
“Because of the quality and talent in the USA National Team pool, every time we pare the list it is a difficult task,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. “… This list of finalists is a mix of veterans, youth, international savvy, and USA Basketball experience.”
U.S. Olympic women’s basketball teams have earned a record seven gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal, and are 58-3 all-time in Olympic competition. Former Huskies on the roster who are also among this year’s finalists hold a total of eight Olympic gold medals, including Bird and Taurasi (three each), Charles and Moore (one each).
USA and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who previously directed the USA National Team to an overall 23-0 record and to gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships, said the committee will have a tough time choosing the team. “When I look at this list of athletes, we could split them down the middle and have two very competitive teams,” he said. “We have a great mix of gold medalists and players who are hungry to play in their first Olympics. … I’m just happy I don’t have to make the decision as to who will be playing in Rio.”