USA Basketball Women’s National Team Roster Set For China Exhibition Game
Following two days of training in Seattle featuring 19 members of the 2018-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team athlete pool, the roster has been pared to 13 athletes for the USA’s April 26 exhibition game against China at KeyArena. The team for the friendly contest versus China was chosen by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Selection Committee.
Tickets for the game, which will tip-off at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT), are available via StormBasketball.com or by calling the Storm at 206-217-9622. The game will be streamed live online at usab.com/live, and on the USA Basketball Facebook and YouTube channels.
Set to compete in the USA’s exhibition game against China are: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx); Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
“These are hard decisions to be made, when you have to send such good players home,” said Dawn Staley, USA National Team and University of South Carolina head coach. “But, their sacrifice will one day pay off, hopefully in the near future for them. The 13 players that were assembled to compete against China will give us an opportunity to see some of our experienced players back together again, along with some of the younger, inexperienced players. It'll give them some experience playing international basketball at a high level alongside Olympians. You can't take for granted playing China. We're going to play to win the basketball game, but we're also going to utilize some players so we can see them play in a game like this.
“This is a game in which we only could pick a certain amount of players. So, it'll be a game in which we are looking at different players at different positions. What it means is that they made the cut this particular time, but there will be other opportunities for the entire pool of players to prove themselves over again. I'm just happy that the players were able to come and we had the chance to work with them. That's what makes our national team great - the sacrifices that everybody gives to be a part of the preparation of winning a World Cup.”
Listed among the exhibition game roster are six Olympic and FIBA World Cup gold medalists, including Bird, who tops the list with four Olympic gold medals, three World Cup golds and one World Cup bronze medal. Taurasi also owns four Olympic golds and has two World Cup gold medals and one World Cup bronze. Augustus and Fowles won three Olympic golds apiece, both have one World Cup gold medal and Augustus also has a World Cup bronze medal. Stewart won gold at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, and Delle Donne earned Olympic gold in 2016.
The Seattle training camp marks the third in the USA’s preparations for the 2018 FIBA World Cup, which will be held Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain. Members of the national team first gathered Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2017, in Santa Barbara, California, and concluded a Feb. 9-11, 2018, camp at the University of South Carolina. Following the game against China, members of the USA National Team pool will break for the summer and gather again in September (site TBD) for its final preparations in defense of the FIBA World Cup gold medal.
Assisting Staley and the USA National Team through the 2018 FIBA World Cup are a trio of head coaches, Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington).
USA Basketball Women’s National Team director Carol Callan serves as chair of the USA National Team Player Selection Committee. In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee includes three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Katie Smith as the athlete representative; representing the WNBA is Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller and Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler; and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who coached USA teams to gold medals at the past two Olympics and FIBA World Cups, serves as a special advisor.
As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2018-20 USA National Team roster will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2018 USA World Cup and 2020 U.S. Olympic teams, should the USA qualify to compete in Tokyo, will be comprised of players from the 2018-20 USA National Team.
USA Basketball Women’s National Team
Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup and, if the USA qualifies, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
The U.S. and Staley first will look to capture the title at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup of Basketball, with an automatic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games being awarded to the gold medalist. Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal in 2018, it would have two additional opportunities to qualify for the Olympics: the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup (dates and site TBD) and the 2020 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).
2018 FIBA World Cup
Winners of back-to-back World Cup titles and four of the past five FIBA World Cups, the USA owns a record nine gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Cup play, while compiling an all-time, 103-21 record at the event. In 2014, the most recent World Cup, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Australia won bronze.
The USA will compete in preliminary round Group D and will play Senegal on Sept. 22, China on Sept. 23 and Latvia on Sept. 25.
Group A includes Canada, France, Greece and South Korea; Group B is comprised of Argentina, Australia, Nigeria and Turkey; while Group C features Belgium, Japan, Puerto Rico and Spain.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded, and the top team from each group will earn an automatic berth to the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 teams from each group will advance to the Sept. 26 quarterfinals play-in round. From there, winners will compete in the Sept. 28-30 medal round.