Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, March 30, 2012

UConn makes history with five Olympians

In the proud history of the U.S. women’s national team program there have never been more than three players from the same college selected to one Olympic squad. On Friday five former Huskies were named to the 2012 squad.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi joined former Tennessee star Tamika Catchings in joining select company by being named to a third Olympic team. Swin Cash, a 2004 Olympian, returned to the fold after battling back from career-threatening back issues while Tina Charles and Maya Moore were named to their first Olympic squad.
“We always get that comment and question of 'why are all the UConn players on there,'” Cash said. “I think Coach (Geno) Auriemma said it earlier, we don't just (make the team) for the university we went to, we've all worked really hard in our careers and our resumes kind of speaks for themselves. There could have been a number of different women who could have made the team but I really don't think it comes down to the university you went to.
“There is a tremendous pride I feel because if you look at the ages it ranks from Sue and I, to Diana and then there is Tina and then Maya. Sue and I have been playing in this league for over 10 years so it is not like we are spring chickens and we are picking all the fresh UConn girls. It is very prideful for our university.”
Six members of the gold-medal winning 2008 Olympic team were selected as Bird, Catchings and Taurasi were joined by Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Candace Parker. Lindsay Whalen and Angel McCoughtry join Charles and Moore as first time Olympians.
“The players who have been selected have won either one Olympic gold medal or they have won World Championship gold medals,” said Auriemma, the U.S. national team coach. “The experience factor is huge, the fact that they have proven they can win, they are proven winners and more than that, they are great players. You don't just wake up one morning and you represent the United States of America on the world stage. This takes some time to put in place; they have put their time in. It is about character too, you talk about people who have extraordinary character as good as their basketball skills are; they are the kind of people we want to represent USA Basketball.”
Bird, Catchings and Taurasi join a select company as three-time Olympians joining five-time selection Teresa Edwards, four-time Olympian Lisa Leslie while Katrina McClain, Dawn Staley, Katie Smith and Sheryl Swoopes were all named to three U.S. Olympic squads.


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