Diamond DeShields, Katie Lou Samuelson, Stefanie Dolson Among 22 Athletes Set to Begin Training with USA Basketball Women's National Team
MIAMI - Chicago Sky's Diamond DeShields, Katie Lou Samuelson, and Stefanie Dolson are among twenty-two athletes set to take to the court over the next three days at the University of Miami's Watsco Center practice gym in a training camp to select the 12-member USA Women's National Team that will compete in the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup for Women.
The training camp will run Sept. 17-19 ahead of the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup, which will be held Sept. 22-29 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 12-member USA AmeriCup Team is expected to be announced prior to the team's departure on Sept. 19.
Included on the list of athletes expected to participate or attend are four of the eight athletes who committed to the 2019-20 USA National Team's expanded training program, including Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings), Miami native Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury).
In addition to those four, athletes who have confirmed their participation in the USA training camp are: Jordin Canada (Seattle Storm), Kaila Charles (Maryland), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky), Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky), Mykea Gray (Miami), Ruthy Hebard (Oregon), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut), Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings), Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA), Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky), Khadijah Sessions (Kouvot, Finland), Brittney Sykes (Atlanta Dream), Christyn Williams (Connecticut) and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream). Further, Beatrice Mompremier (Miami) was added to the USA AmeriCup Team training camp roster and will participate in the three-day camp.
"It's bittersweet in that somebody in the WNBA Playoffs had to lose, but we gained in getting some quality players in here, some Olympians, some World Cup champions," said Dawn Staley, USA National Team and University of South Carolina head coach. "I'm super-excited because we get to start another two weeks of training and preparation for the Olympic Games."
The U.S. will practice for approximately two hours a day, starting at 10 a.m. (all times EDT) at Miami's Watsco Center practice gym before traveling to Puerto Rico for the AmeriCup, which was previously known as the FIBA Americas Championship.
Bird, who had knee surgery in May, Diggins-Smith, who gave birth to her first child in April, and Taurasi, who missed most of the season due to a back injury, will not play. However, they will participate in meetings and some on-court preparations.
Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks) and A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), who are among the eight athletes who committed to the USA National Team's expanded training program, are unavailable after helping their respective teams advance to the WNBA semifinals.
Ten nations will take part in the AmeriCup, with the top eight finishing teams advancing to a Nov. 10-18 FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The field has been drawn into two pools of five teams each. Group A features Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The USA will compete in Group B against Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay.
Following preliminary play, teams will be seeded and the top two teams from each group advance to the Sept. 28 semifinals. The gold and bronze medal games will be held Sept. 29. All the USA games will be shown live on ESPN+.
The USA opens AmeriCup competition Sept. 22 against Paraguay, then will play Colombia on Sept. 24, Argentina Sept. 25 and closes preliminary play against Brazil on Sept. 26.
The USA National Team, which already has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, will take advantage of and participate in FIBA's new Olympic qualification process, that provides nations with two windows of competition, Nov. 10-18, 2019, and Feb. 2-10, 2020.
As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2019-20 USA National Team roster, which currently lists 34 athletes, will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2020 U.S. Olympic Team will be comprised of players from the 2019-20 USA National Team.
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, are serving as the 2019-20 USA National Team assistant coaches and will assist Staley in Miami and at the AmeriCup.
Chaired by USA Women's National Team director Carol Callan, USA National Team athletes were selected by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee, which currently 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.
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.
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