As we told you earlier this week, UConn is going to have a significant undergraduate presence at USA Basketball’s first women’s basketball camp of the new Olympic quadrennial.
Sophomore Breanna Stewart, last year’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, and All-Americans unior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley will be among a group of college players invited to join the pros in Las Vegas from Oct. 4-6.
Includied in Coach Geno Auriemma’s first player-group are also 13 Olympic and/or FIBA World Championship gold medalists, including WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne. And we all know what that means, right UConn fans?
The camp will be used to identify players for the USA National Team pool, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team will be selected. Invitations to attend the training camp were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.
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 Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Further, Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), both of whom aided the USA to a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, are set to attend camp.
Also accepting invitations were: DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), 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), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Odyssey Sims (Baylor University), Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) and Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars).
Athletes involved in the WNBA Finals will be unable to attend the training camp.
“The Committee did a great job of identifying players for this camp,” said Geno Auriemma, 2013-16 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. “First, you have some who have helped us already win world championships and gold medals at the Olympics and those who certainly we need to take a look at to prepare for the future. Ideally you would love to have a team that is comprised of enough veteran leadership, enough young players with experience and enough young players who might be there for the first time. Within this group we have a mixture of all of those.
“I think what the Committee did, which I think is interesting, there are a lot of young WNBA players who are on the list, and with an eye toward the future there are players who have excelled at the college level already and who have also excelled at USA Basketball at a young age, who three years from now, four years from now, are going to be WNBA players. So, it’s great to get a head start to see where the future really lies. I think that’s one thing USA Basketball has always been great at, preparing for the future. This is another great example of that.”
The training camp marks the beginning of a new quadrennium for the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, which over the next four 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.
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; Hartley teamed up with Dolson in 2010 and 2011, and also captured gold medals at the 2012 FIBA 3×3 World Championship and 2013 World University Games; 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 training camp participant, but owns the most international experience.
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 and was named the 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.