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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 13, 2014

7 UConn products part of U.S. national team player pool

UConn stars Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis among
six college players named to U.S. senior national team player pool. 
Even with two 2012 Olympians missing, UConn is very well represented in the U.S. senior women's national team player pool which was announced today.

Current UConn stars Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart were among six active college players and the inclusion of Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi means that seven of the 33 players are former or current UConn stars.

Notre Dame's Kayla McBride, Odyssey Sims of Baylor and Maryland's Alyssa Thomas were the other current collegiate stars named to the player pool.

Swin Cash and Asjha Jones, members of UConn's 2000 and 2002 naitonal championship teams, were not included in the player pool, Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson, a member of the 2008 Olympic squad, was among the 33 players named to the player pool.

"I think the game has changed tremendously and we are fortunate that the pool is probably greater than it’s ever been,” said UConn and U.S. senior national team head coach Geno Auriemma in a statement “The gap between those that have won gold medals and those that are still playing for the USA Basketball National Team and those that want to be part of it who are younger and have made a name for themselves is narrowing every year.  I’m excited that we have so many great players to choose from.
“It’s always difficult when you’re trying to put together a team. It doesn’t always come down to picking the 12 best players, putting them on the team and let’s go. I think there are other factors that go into it, and hopefully the committee and the coaches can come up with a team that is capable of winning gold medals and represents the U.S. in the best possible manner. At the same time, part of the goal needs to include preparing for life after some of these great Olympians who have won multiple gold medals. I wish it was as simple as picking the leading scorers and leading rebounders or just picking the most famous players in the WNBA and let’s go get ‘em!  But it’s a lot more complicated than that so it will be very difficult.”

Players can be added to the national team pool at any point but this is the core of players the U.S. will take to Turkey for the FIBA World Championship for Women from Sept. 27-Oct. 5

Here is a list of national team pool players 
NAME POS HGT WGT DOB TEAM COLLEGE HOMETOWN
Jayne Appel C 6-4 210 05/14/88 San Antonio Silver Stars Stanford Pleasant Hill, CA
Seimone Augustus G/F 6-0 166 04/30/84 Minnesota Lynx Louisiana State Baton Rouge, LA
Sue Bird G 5-9 150 10/16/80 Seattle Storm Connecticut Syosset, NY
DeWanna Bonner G/F 6-4 137 08/21/87 Phoenix Mercury Auburn Fairfield, AL
Tamika Catchings F 6-1 167 07/21/79 Indiana Fever Tennessee Duncanville, TX
Tina Charles C 6-4 198 12/05/88 Connecticut Sun Connecticut Jamaica, NY
Elena Delle Donne G/F 6-5 188 09/05/89 Chicago Sky Delaware Wilmington, DE
Skylar Diggins G 5-9 145 08/02/90 Tulsa Shock Notre Dame South Bend, IN
Stefanie Dolson C 6-5 210 01/08/92 n/a Connecticut Port Jervis, NY
Candice Dupree F 6-2 175 08/16/84 Phoenix Mercury Temple Tampa, FL
Sylvia Fowles C 6-6 200 10/06/85 Chicago Sky Louisiana State Miami, FL
Brittney Griner C 6-8 199 10/18/90 Phoenix Mercury Baylor Houston, TX
Lindsey Harding G 5-8 135 06/12/84 Los Angeles Sparks Duke Houston, TX
Briann January G 5-8 144 01/11/87 Indiana Fever Arizona State Spokane, WA
Glory Johnson F 6-3 170 07/27/90 Tulsa Shock Tennessee Knoxville, TN
Jantel Lavender C 6-4 185 11/12/88 Los Angeles Sparks Ohio State Cleveland, OH
Kara Lawson G 5-9 150 02/14/81 Connecticut Sun Tennessee Alexandria, VA
Kayla McBride G 5-11 166 06/25/92 n/a Notre Dame Erie, PA
Angel McCoughtry G/F 6-1 160 09/10/86 Atlanta Dream Louisville Baltimore, MD
Maya Moore F 6-0 176 06/11/89 Minnesota Lynx Connecticut Lawrenceville, GA
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis F 6-0 185 11/03/93 n/a Connecticut Anaheim Hills, CA
Nnemkadi Ogwumike F 6-2 188 07/02/90 Los Angeles Sparks Stanford Cypress, TX
Candace Parker F/C 6-4 175 04/19/86 Los Angeles Sparks Tennessee Naperville, IL
Cappie Pondexter G 5-9 160 01/07/83 New York Liberty Rutgers Chicago, IL
Danielle Robinson G 5-9 125 05/10/89 San Antonio Silver Stars Oklahoma San Jose, CA
Odyssey Sims G 5-8 155 07/13/92 n/a Baylor Irving, TX
Breanna Stewart F/C 6-4 175 08/27/94 n/a Connecticut North Syracuse, NY
Diana Taurasi G 6-0 163 06/11/82 Phoenix Mercury Connecticut Chino, CA
Alyssa Thomas F 6-2 170 04/12/92 n/a Maryland Harrisburg, PA
Courtney Vandersloot G 5-8 145 02/08/89 Chicago Sky Gonzaga Kent, WA
Lindsay Whalen G 5-9 169 05/09/82 Minnesota Lynx Minnesota Hutchinson, MN
Monica Wright G/F 5-10 170 07/15/88 Minnesota Lynx Virginia Woodbridge, VA
Sophia Young F 6-1 165 12/15/83 San Antonio Silver Stars Baylor St. Vincent, West Indies


Here are quotes from Bird, Charles, Dolson, Moore and Mosqueda-Lewis, courtesy of USA Basketball, reacting to the news.

Sue Bird
You started with the USA National Team in 2002 just out of college. What did you see from the collegiate players in the mix that made you think they're ready to be in the 2014-16 USA National Team pool? 
All of them were extremely talented but also eager to learn. You could sense they really wanted to seize the opportunity of playing with the national team. The other thing I noticed was how poised they all were. It can be intimating at first, but none of them showed that.

How difficult is it for the committee to have to pare the list to 12 for the 2014 World Championship? 
I don't envy the committee at all. The best and worst part about USA Basketball is the amount of talent out there. Just like previous years, I think it'll be extremely difficult for the committee to choose the final 12. Luckily, though, they seem to have it figured out. How many gold medals in a row has it been? 


Tina Charles
There is a lot of talent coming up through the USA Basketball pipeline, especially the six collegiate athletes who were in Las Vegas, all of whom were named to the pool. As someone who is just four years removed from being named to the USA National Team as a college athlete, what did you see from them in Vegas that would make the committee feel they're ready to be in the USA National Team pool?
Those collegiate athletes showed a lot of heart. They were very attentive to detail as to what coach Auriemma and the rest of the staff expected from them. During play, they competed every possession and were eager to learn. For USA Basketball your role changes and you have to find that one thing that separates you from the rest. They all competed to do just that. 

How difficult of a decision will it be for the committee to pare the list down to 12 for the eventual 2014 USA World Championship Team?
It will be extremely difficult. As athletes, it’s our job to make it difficult. Every year a player adds something to their game to make themselves better. It is noticeable every training camp.  But the committee always does a great job finding the right pieces to bring home a victory.

Stefanie Dolson
What does it mean for you to be among the nation's best players, not just players in your age group, named to the 2014-16 USA National Team?
It means the world to me. For me to be selected out of everyone in the country is something I did not expect a few years back. It’s proved to myself that all the hard work has paid off, and being selected for the next step is just unexplainable. It’s an awesome feeling, and I’m completely honored to be selected among these women.
Do you feel that this has made all the hours you put in with USA Basketball on the court worth it? 
Yeah it makes it worth it. All the extra hours all of us put in and traveling with USA Basketball for so many years makes it all worth it. It’s always a cool experience to be a part of USA Basketball, so I’m happy to take this next step.
This is the first step to being named to a USA World Championship or U.S. Olympic team. Is that something you've always wanted to do, or did you just recently start thinking that's a possibility for your future?
This is something that I have always wanted to do. I don’t know that I always thought it would really happen, but after putting in all the hard work here at UConn and doing the same with USA Basketball, I’ve grown and improved so much. It’s really just awesome to be a part of this.

Maya Moore, Minnestoa Lynx
How difficult of a decision will it be for the committee to pare the list down to 12 for the eventual 2014 USA World Championship Team?
The decision is a tough one for the committee, as a generation of younger players are starting to show some great talent and potential.  If I know USA Basketball, the players that make the 12-person roster will demonstrate the best character, competitiveness, talent, unselfishness, and understanding of the game.  I'm excited and honored to be in the pool once again.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
What does it mean for you to be among the nation's best players, not just players in your age group, named to the 2014-16 USA National Team?
It means a lot. It’s an honor to be among the greats of women’s basketball. To be put in a pool to possibly make that team is quite an opportunity. 
Do you feel that this has made all the hours you put in with USA Basketball on the court worth it? 
Definitely! All the time and effort that all of us have put in over the years with USA Basketball puts you in the best position to be among the names that are chosen for this opportunity.
This is the first step to being named to a USA World Championship or U.S. Olympic team. Is that something you've always wanted to do, or did you just recently start thinking that's a possibility for your future?
Ever since I started playing USA Basketball and getting a feel for the organization and seeing what it’s all about, it’s been a hope of mine to make the National Team. So, now being in the pool and getting closer to that goal is really cool.   

Breanna Stewart
What does it mean for you to be among the nation's best players, not just players in your age group, named to the 2014-16 USA National Team?
This is obviously a great honor, and I think continuing to have the opportunity to learn from the veteran players will be an unbelievable experience. I’m very excited to see where everything goes.
Do you feel that this has made all the hours you put in with USA Basketball on the court worth it? 
I think that anytime you have an opportunity to represent your country playing the sport you love is something that I always want to do. To have played multiple times before leading up to this, this is something I’m really excited about.
This is the first step to being named to a USA World Championship or U.S. Olympic team. Is that something you've always wanted to do, or did you just recently start thinking that's a possibility for your future?
Ever since I watched the Olympics, that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I think that representing your country through basketball at the highest level is something that I have always wanted to do and is one of my biggest goals.

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