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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 25, 2016

UConn's Stewart, 5 former Huskies finalists for U.S. Olympic team

There was a rather sizeable UConn contingent among the 25 players named as finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.

Breanna Stewart is the only active college player on the list of finalists while former Huskies Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi are also on the list of finalists. Connecticut Sun star Chiney Ogwumike is also a candidate to make the Olympic squad.

"Naming the Olympic Team finalists is another step in our selection process," said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee in the release sent out by USA Basketball. "Because of the quality and talent in the USA National Team pool, every time we pare the list it is a difficult task. Yet, we eventually have to get down to a 12-member team, so we conscientiously look at the present goal of winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games with an eye to sustaining our success in the future. This list of finalists is a mix of veterans, youth, international savvy and USA Basketball experience.

"What adds to the challenge of picking a team is the devotion and commitment all of our athletes have to our USA National Team and representing their country, especially given the year-round play many of them have in the WNBA and on overseas teams."

"I think the committee has a tough decision ahead of it," UConn and U.S. head coach Geno Auriemma. "When I look at this list of athletes, we could split them down the middle and have two very competitive teams. We have a great mix of gold medalists and players who are hungry to play in their first Olympics. There is versatility at all positions. Our posts are the strongest we've seen in years, we have guys who can shoot, guys who can defend, and I'm just happy I don't have to make the decision as to who will be playing in Rio."

The next step in the preparation process is a training camp held at UConn from Feb. 21-23.

Seimone Augustus, Tamika Catchings, Elena Delle Donne, Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles , Brittney Griner,, Briann January, Jantel Lavender, Kayla McBride, Angel McCoughtry, Nnemkadi Ogwumike Candace Parker, Danielle Robinson, Odyssey Sims, Courtney Vandersloot  and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) are also finalists.

Every member of the U.S. team which won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championships remain in contention for a spot on the Olympic team while the only members of the 2012 Olympic team not in contention to make this year's squad are former UConn stars Swin Cash and Asjha Jones.


Anonymous Joe said...

If Della Donne is selected, it will be interesting to see what kind of relationship she develops with Geno.

She had been recruited to UConn and transferred out pretty early on to go to Delaware, played volleyball there for a year, and then came back to basketball.

it seemed like she didn't want to put in the intensity required in the UConn program, perhaps the selflessness didn't fit her personality??

Who can say?

Yet her career has had plenty of individual accolades yet not much in the way of team accomplishments.....

9:56 AM 

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