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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five current or former UConn players named to U.S. national team

With the news that Brittney Griner's eye injury has healed sufficiently for her to take part in the upcoming FIBA World Championship for Women, the U.S. announced the 12-player squad seeking to defend its world title.

UConn junior Breanna Stewart is the only current collegiate player on the U.S. squad while former UConn star Sue Bird becomes the first U.S. player to named to four world championship teams. Bird is joined on the team by fellow former Huskies Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi.

Candice Dupree, Angel McCoughtry, Lindsay Whalen (who joined Bird, Charles, Moore and Taurasi on the 2010 world championship team) are joined by Stewart, Seimone Augustus, Griner, Nneka Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims.

Jantel Lavender was cut once Griner was cleared to compete for the U.S.

"When you get down to the final 12-member team, you appreciate everything that all of the pool players have contributed to where we are today," said U.S. Women's National Team Director Carol Callan in a statement. "They all have worked hard and pushed the team during training camp to be at their very best. So, for that we are grateful, and we know that we have a great future as well. It is now exciting to have the team selected, and the committee feels that this team will compete to the standard set by previous USA Basketball World Championship Teams."

Here's a statement with the thoughts of U.S. and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.

"I think anytime a team is selected, you are always excited about who was picked and disappointed for those who weren't picked. We knew it was going to be difficult. We are missing so many veterans from previous World Championships and the Olympics, so it was a great opportunity for some younger players for some new faces to be added. I think they've done a great job. I think from what I can see, we've got a little bit of everything. We still have, obviously, some things that we have to work on. Brittney (Griner) is going to get here, and this will be her first time through this. Odyssey's (Sims) first time. Breanna's (Stewart) first time. Nneka's (Ogwumike) first time. That's a lot of new faces. I know our coaching staff has our work cut out for us, and we are excited to finally get the team together and get started.

"I think it's a testament to Sue," he added on Bird's longevity with the USA National Team. "That's a period of 12 years. She played right after graduating college. It is amazing that her level of play has been that consistent for that many years at a position that is not easy to play. That's kind of who she is. She is very steady, very even keeled, unbelievable talented and wins. The players trust her, and they have confidence in her. And the coaches I think feel the same way. She's like having a coach on the floor. We throw it out there like, 'Wow, you're a four-time USA World Championship Team member.' If it were that easy, it would have been done lots of times before this. She's accomplished something that's very rare, and she should be very proud of herself."


Anonymous Joe said...

Many people probably do not realize that Geno had no (direct) say in who was selected for the team (though he probably gave some informal input).

Nice to see Breanna in the mix!

9:50 AM 

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