USA Basketball Women’s National Team Unveils November NCAA Tour Games
The USA Basketball Women’s National Team, which announced in July an expanded training program to aid in its pursuit of a seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal, will tip-off its quest for a gold in Tokyo with four games against top 10 ranked NCAA Division I programs. Opening on Nov. 2 at Stanford University, the USA will play Oregon State University on Nov. 4, Texas A&M University on Nov. 7 and cap the first portion of its NCAA games against University of Oregon on Nov. 9. Ticket information for each game can be found at USAB.com/tickets.
Additionally, early in 2020 the U.S. will compete in a second series of NCAA games, which will be announced at a later date.
Because of the cooperation by the NCAA and its member schools, the USA National Team has been afforded the opportunity to compete in these two series of exhibition games against some of the nation’s premier NCAA Division I programs.
“I have to thank all of the parties involved, the NCAA, USA Basketball, all of the people who worked behind the scenes to get a waiver for us to be able to play a college tour once again,” said USA National Team head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina). “Historically speaking, it has been great for our program to have a college tour. All our past USA teams that had a college tour went on to win Olympic gold medals. So, if we can pull back into some historical times in which we had the opportunity to showcase our national team in this light, women’s college basketball is at an all-time high as far as exposure. This will increase the exposure to women’s basketball. And I’m excited. Again, it’s prep time. It’s more prep time. The more time we have, the better we will perform in Tokyo.”
As part of its expanded women’s national team program, USA Basketball has secured commitments from eight elite athletes from the 2019-20 USA National Team pool to participate in the team’s five training segments that will take place between November 2019 and April 2020. Those eight include Sue Bird (Seattle Storm/Connecticut), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics/Delaware), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings/Notre Dame), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx/LSU), Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks/Duke), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks/Stanford), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury/Connecticut) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces/South Carolina).
The roster for the November college tour will be rounded out by USA National Team members Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx/LSU), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun/California), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx/Connecticut) and Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces/Washington).
Gray will miss the game at Stanford and Plum will miss the first two games due to previous personal commitments.
In all, fans during the four NCAA games will see athletes who own a combined 15 Olympic and 15 FIBA World Cup gold medals.
Following competition of its November NCAA tour, the USA will participate in the Nov. 10-18 FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The USA, joined by Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, will play in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament Group A, which includes Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, will play in Edmonton, Canada. The top two teams from each of those groups will qualify to play in one of the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (sites TBD), Feb. 2-10.
For the FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky/Tennessee), Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings/Notre Dame), Plum and one additional athlete to be announced will join the eight core members.
Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington), who assisted the USA to a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup and the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup, are serving as the 2019-20 USA National Team assistant coaches.
Staley and Rizzotti, due to commitments to their collegiate teams, will not be available for the next two training camps, and Hughes and Reeve will serve as co-coaches.
Past USA Basketball teams ahead of the 1996, 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games competed against collegiate teams, and over the course of those three tours, the USA earned a 39-1 record competing against a combined total of 30 different NCAA Division I teams.
The USA National Team, which already has qualified for the 2020 Olympics, is taking advantage of and participating in FIBA’s new Olympic qualification process, which began with the recently concluded FIBA AmeriCup, where the U.S. finished 6-0 and captured gold on Sept. 29 in Puerto Rico. The top eight finishing teams in the AmeriCup qualified for the Nov. 10-18 FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The remaining window of competition features the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments from Feb. 2-10, 2020, at sites around the world to be determined following the November window.
Olympic Games Women’s Basketball Competition
Winners of the past six Olympic gold medals, the USA owns a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, while compiling an all-time 66-3 record in Olympic play since women’s basketball was first introduced to the Olympic program in 1976.
In 2016, the most recent Olympic Games, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Serbia won bronze.
The USA, by virtue of winning the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, and host Japan already have secured berths into the 2020 tournament. The remaining 10 teams will qualify through the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
The 2020 Olympic competition will see a different tournament format launched in 2020. The 12 teams will be split into three groups of four teams apiece for preliminary play, held July 27-Aug. 3.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded, and the top two teams from each group and the two best third place teams, according to FIBA’s placement rules, will qualify for the medal round. In the medal round, teams will compete in a knockout bracket, with winners advancing from the Aug. 5 quarterfinals to the Aug. 7 semifinals. The gold medal game will be played on Aug. 9, on the morning of the 2020 closing ceremony.