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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Former UConn star to help out at national team camp

By my math five former UConn players as well as current Husky star Breanna Stewart are slated to take part in the U.S. Senior Women's National Team training camp which kicks off on Monday in Annapolis, Maryland.

UConn and U.S. national team coach Geno Auriemma confirmed that another former UConn player will also take part in the training camp but not as a player as Jen Rizzotti, the point guard on the Huskies' first national championship team and the current head coach at Hartford, will be helping out in an unofficial capacity similar to what Auriemma's staff did at previous training camps.

UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey will have an advanced scouting role for the FIBA World Championship for Women similar to what she did at the Olympics but due to recruiting responsibilities, she is not expected to be in attendance at the training camp.

Here is the official release from USA Basketball


         Three-time America East Coach of the Year Jennifer Rizzotti will rejoin USA Basketball this fall to serve as an advance scout and court coach for the USA Basketball Women's National Team in the FIBA World Championship, USA Basketball today announced. Rizzotti, who served as a court coach last October at the USA National Team mini-camp in Las Vegas, was named the USA Basketball National Coach of the Year in 2011 after leading the U19 World Championship Team to a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship.

            The USA begins training for the FIBA World Championship, which will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey, on Sept. 8 in Annapolis, Maryland. 

            "It's an amazing opportunity to work with the collection of world-class players and coaches chosen to represent the United States at this year's (FIBA) World Championship.  I'm excited to have a chance to learn from the best and I appreciate USA Basketball asking me to fulfill this role," said Rizzotti. 

            This opportunity will also reunite Rizzotti with Geno Auriemma, head coach of the 2013-16 USA Basketball Women's National Team. Rizzotti played for Auriemma at UConn, leading the Huskies to a national championship in 1995.

            "I am thrilled that Jennifer is going to be involved with USA Basketball," said Auriemma. "I think she is one of the best and brightest young coaches in the country. Her experience, both playing and winning gold medals with USA Basketball as a coach, makes her the perfect addition to our staff.  I know the players are going to learn an awful lot from Jen because, at heart, she is a great teacher of the game.  She is going to help me tremendously during this World Championship run."

            Previously, Rizzotti was head coach of the 2011 U19 gold medal winning team and the 2010 USA U18 National Team that finished with a perfect 5-0 record, captured the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas Championship and earned the U.S. a berth in the 2011 FIBA U19 Worlds. In her first USA Basketball coaching stint, Rizzotti was an assistant coach for the 2006 USA U18 National Team that collected gold with a 4-0 slate at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and earned a qualifying spot in the 2007 U19 World Championship.

            Rizzotti's USA Basketball resume extends to her playing days. She was a gold medalist on the 1996 USA R. William Jones Cup Team and a 1995 USA Women's National Team Trials participant.

            Rizzotti will join the USA National Team on Sept. 8 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis as the USA begins preparations in defense of its FIBA World Championship title. 

            Athletes invited to participate in the USA training camp in hopes of being named to the 2014 USA World Championship Team include: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Bria Hartley (Washington Mystics), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars), Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) and Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx). 


As for the list of former UConn players expected at the camp, Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley should be taking part since their WNBA seasons are over. The Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury play tonight in the third and final game in the Western Conference final. If Minnesota loses, Maya Moore would be able to take part in the training camp while a Phoenix loss would mean Diana Taurasi would be headed to the training camp.

Also, UConn freshman Kia Nurse is on campus and headed to classes for the next week before she has to return for more work with the Canadian national team including a Sept. 15 exhibition game against U.S. in Bridgeport.

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