USA Basketball Women’s National Team Mini-Camp Set To Begin May 4
The road to Rio runs through Las Vegas, where the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s National Team mini-camp will be held May 4-6 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. The camp will feature 24 Olympic hopefuls, including 12 who have captured a combined 15 Olympic and 15 FIBA World Championship gold medals. The team will train beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT) each day and media will be allowed access to approximately the final 30 minutes of practice each day.
“For us, it’s important that we get ourselves, for a couple days, in the mindset of playing,” said USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “We know we have a pretty big competition next summer. We have so few times to get together. We’re dealing with players who are still playing overseas, players who have injuries, players who are taking time off. It’s never easy for us to get everybody on board. So, it’s important that whenever we can get together, we do so in order to keep the momentum going and stay connected as a team and with our coaching staff. At the same time, we have to start identifying some of the young guys who down the road are going to be able to help us, or maybe even help us these Olympics. A lot of things are going to get covered in a short period of time. We try to cram a lot of things in, in just a few days because we just don’t have a lot of time.”
Members of the 2014-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team expected to participate in the training camp, include: Jayne Appel (San Antonio Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Bria Hartley (Washington Mystics), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Seattle Storm), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Cappie Pondexter (Chicago Sky), Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky) and Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx).
Addtionally, Jennifer Hamson (Los Angeles Sparks), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm) and Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina), who are currently not members of the USA National Team, will train with the U.S. squad in hopes of being named to the USA National Team pool.
Included on the training camp roster are three-time Olympic gold medalists Bird and Taurasi; two-time Olympic gold medalists Augustus, Fowles and Parker; 2008 Olympic gold medalist Pondexter; and McCoughtry and Moore, who helped the U.S. claim gold in 2012. Further, Bird is a three-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist; McCoughtry, Moore and Taurasi have captured two World Championship gold medals; Appel and Fowles earned gold at the 2010 Worlds; while Augustus, Ogwumike, Sims and Stewart earned a gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship. Further, Augustus, Bird, Parker and Taurasi returned with a bronze medal from the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Auriemma will be assisted through the 2016 Olympic Games by DePaul University’s Doug Bruno, the Minnesota Lynx’ Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley.
Additionally, University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti will serve as a court coach and assist the USA National Team staff during the three-day camp.
The final 12-player 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team will be selected in 2016 from the 2014-16 USA National Team pool by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. Chaired by USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan, the committee includes WNBA appointees Reneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations; Dan Hughes, head coach and general manager of the San Antonio Stars; and Chris Sienko, vice president and general manager of the Connecticut Sun; and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist Katie Smith, who played in nearly 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008, and serves as the athlete representative.
2016 Olympic Games
The 2016 Olympic Games will be held Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro. A total of 12 nations will compete in the Olympic women’s basketball competition, including host Brazil and the USA, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship. The gold-medal winning nations from each of the five FIBA zone Olympic qualifying tournaments in 2015 also will punch their tickets to Rio, while the remaining berths will be awarded to the top five finishing teams at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).
U.S. Olympic women’s basketball teams have earned a record seven gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, and are 58-3 all-time in Olympic competition. The 2016 U.S. team will enter Rio riding a 41-game Olympic winning streak that dates back to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medal game.
Since the inception of the 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team program, the USA National Team, in addition to its record five-straight Olympic gold medals, has captured four FIBA World Championship gold medals, one FIBA World Championship bronze medal and one FIBA Americas Championship gold medal, while compiling a remarkable 86-1 record for a .989 winning percentage in those events. Further, USA National Teams in exhibition contests since 1995 boast of a 186-15 record (.925 winning percentage).