2015 USA Women’s National Team To Embark On October 2-10 European Tour
In continuing its preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games, USA Basketball announced today that 11 USA Women’s National Team athletes have accepted invitations to participate in a training camp in Spain, and compete in four exhibition games in Spain, Italy and Czech Republic from Oct. 2-10, 2015.
The USA squad will train Oct. 2-3 in Platja D'aro, Spain, before taking on professional EuroLeague club Uni Girona on Oct. 4 in Girona, Spain. Following a final practice in Barcelona, the team will travel to Italy to face the Italian National Team on Oct. 7 in Rome and the Dike Naples professional team on Oct. 8 in Naples. The tour concludes with a game against 2015 EuroLeague champion USK Prague on Oct. 9 in Prague, Czech Republic.
“It’s one of the obstacles that we have every Olympic year; the amount of time we get with our players,” said USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who since being selected to coach the USA Basketball Women’s National Team in 2009 has piloted the USA National Team to an overall 23-0 record and gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games. “This is another example of that. We are going to have 10 days together, so we’ll have a couple practices and a couple games but we are going to be missing some players. All the players that are playing in the WNBA Finals won’t be there, which means some of our best players won’t be there. That’s difficult because it doesn’t give you a great sense of everyone that is eligible for the team. But in the end, you have to do what you have to do and out of this maybe some younger players or some players that we really didn’t know too much about show us something and put themselves in the mix.”
Expected to participate in the 2015 USA Basketball National Team European Tour are: Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut) and Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky).
Auriemma is being 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.
University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti will serve as a court coach during the USA’s European Tour.
Reeve has coached the Minnesota Lynx into the 2015 WNBA Finals and therefore will not be on the sideline during the 2015 European Tour.
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. Australia (Oceania), Canada (Americas), Japan (Asia) and Serbia (Europe) claimed their respective FIBA zone championship to earn a spot in the Rio field, while the African champion, which will be crowned on Oct. 3, will claim the seventh spot.
The remaining berths will be awarded to the top five finishing teams at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (site TBD, June 13-19, 2016). Qualified for that tournament based on finishes in their respective zone championships are: Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela from the Americas; China and South Korea from Asia; Belarus, France, Spain and Turkey from Europe; New Zealand from Oceania; and the two teams TBD from the AfroBasket Championship (Sept. 24-Oct. 3).
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).
The final 12-player 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team will be selected from the 2015-16 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.