Could all-UConn team win Olympic gold?
Since I have seen plenty of caustic posts on Twitter about how the U.S. team has become little more than a chance for Geno Auriemma to get his former players on the squad (a laughable point of view when considering the qualifications of Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi), I thought it would be fun to get some people to weigh in on whether an all-UConn team could win the Olympic gold medal. I spoke with Bird, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director Carol Callan, assistant coach Doug Bruno and guard Lindsay Whalen on the topic for a story which ran in this morning's paper.
When I mentioned it to Bird, she said "who is on the team" since she wasn't sure if I meant active players or all UConn players so here is the breakdown of the 15 current UConn graduates in the WNBA.
Sue Bird: Averaging 12.5 points and league leading 6 assists per game. Is 241 assists shy of Ticha Penicheiro's WNBA career record. Tied for eighth with 573 career steals.
Tina Charles: Currently the WNBA leader in both scoring (21.4) and rebounding and one of the frontrunners with WNBA MVP. Could join Chamique Holdsclaw as only player to lead WNBA in scoring and rebounding in same season.
Maya Moore: Three-time WNBA champion is fourth in league in scoring (19.4) and sixth in assists (4.4). One of five players to be named WNBA regular-season and finale MVP.
Breanna Stewart: Winner of WNBA Rookie of Month three times, she is second in WNBA in rebounding and fifth in scoring
Diana Taurasi: Sixth-leading scorer in WNBA at 18.9 points per game. One of three WNBA players with more than 7,000 points in regular season and fifth all-time with 1,547 assists
Swin Cash: Ranks 13th in WNBA history with 5,075 regular-season points and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Key member of championship teams with Detroit and Seattle.
Stefanie Dolson: After averaging a career high 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds for Washington last season, is contributing 8 points and 4.7 rebounds
Kelly Faris: Averaging 2.1 points and 11.9 minutes in 103 career games with Connecticut Sun
Bria Hartley: Averaging 6.5 points, 2 rebounds, 2.3 assists in 16.9 minutes with Washington Mystics. Since May 21 Mystics are 6-4 when she plays at least 15 minutes, 3-8 if she does not
Tiffany Hayes: Atlanta Dream's No. 2 scorer at 14.5 points per game. Averaging career highs in points, assists, steals and minutes played. Has seven 20-point games, Atlanta is 10-7 when she scores in double figures
Moriah Jefferson: Second on San Antonio in scoring (12.2), contributes 4 assists, 1.4 steals per game. Third among qualifying players with 45.3 3-point percentage. Averaged 17.1 points in last eight games before Olympic break
Renee Montgomery: Averaging 7.8 points per game for Minnesota, highest total since 2013 season. Hit game winner when Minnesota beat Los Angeles in showdown of undefeated teams. Minnesota is 7-2 when she scores at least 10 points
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis: Averaging 6.4 points and 16.7 minutes while shooting 47 percent from 3-point range in last seven games for Seattle
Kiah Stokes: Eighth in WNBA in rebounding (7.6), sixth in blocked shots (1.5). Second in league in rebounding per 40 minutes
Morgan Tuck: Averaging 7.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 17.2 minutes as a rookie for Connecticut Sun. Averaged 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in one three-game stretch in June.
There is already a portion of the women's basketball world tired of the "all UConn, all the time" coverage so a team of only UConn alums representing the U.S. in the Olympics might mean the end of Twitter but it was something worth pondering.