USA Basketball Women's National Team Calls it a Wrap in San Antonio
Sixteen members of the USA Basketball Women's National Team were on the court in San Antonio from March 30 through April 2.
The team is training ahead of the USA's attempt to win a seventh-straight gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. And while USA head coach Dawn Staley was busy with her University of South Carolina team competing in the NCAA Final Four, USA assistant coaches Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm) and Jennifer Rizzotti and court coach Vickie Johnson (Dallas Wings) guided the USA through four days of practices.
"Well, obviously, our template is going to be what we do when Dawn is here. We're not going to go off the map that much," Rizzotti said when asked about the flow of the practices without Staley. "We know what she wants to get accomplished. We talk about the playbook and the plays that we want to make sure are in and that we've worked on a lot. So, even though she's not here in person, her presence is here based on, just the overall intensity to camp, what we're trying to work on, what we're trying to prepare for. And Dan and I wanted to make sure that we got in this week what Dawn would have wanted to get in, in this time together."
When you’re the #GOAT and know it & more importantly don’t even have to say it. @S10Bird w/ the assist & @DianaTaurasi with the finish. Can’t wait to see more #teamwork like this from the @usabasketball Women’s team. pic.twitter.com/XvRLscFjFi
— Richard Saenz (@RSaenzFox10) March 31, 2021
"We had a mixture of vets and young players that were able to intertwine with each other, but at the same time push each other to another level," said Johnson. "Having Sue (Bird) and Diana (Taurasi) here in this training camp was huge for us as a whole because of their maturity level and the expectations of USA Basketball. They really came in and pushed the tempo and really helped these young players be productive. We had an opportunity to see the young players be themselves the best version of themselves, without as much nervousness as before."
The week kicked of with the USA National Team playing 3x3 basketball. National team and USA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Team members Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray and Kelsey Plum won the tournament, while the rest of field felt the impact of a 12-second shot clock.
While many of the athletes at training camp also participated in the USA's February camp in South Carolina, Sue Bird, Jordin Canada, Tina Charles, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Angel McCoughtry and Diana Taurasi were taking part in their first USA Basketball camp of 2021.
"It was weird not having Dawn here," concluded Rizzotti after the final session wrapped. "But at the same time, that's what you have assistants for and it felt good to be out there and get back on the court with these guys."