USA Basketball Unveils Expanded Women's National Team Program
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Members of the 2019-20 USA Basketball Women's National Team, as well as USA National Team hopefuls, will take part in a training camp at the University of Miami 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, which will be selected from the group of training camp participants, 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 once they have concluded their WNBA season are seven 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), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
In addition to those seven, athletes who have confirmed their participation in the USA training camp, provided they've concluded their WNBA season are: Jordin Canada (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky), Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky), Brittney Sykes (Atlanta Dream), Sydney Wiese (Los Angele Sparks) and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
Additionally, the following players also will be taking part in the training camp: Kaila Charles (Maryland), Mykea Gray (Miami), Ruthy Hebard (Oregon), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut), Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA), Khadijah Sessions (Kouvot, Finland) Christyn Williams (Connecticut).
"I'm super excited," said Dawn Staley, USA National Team and University of South Carolina head coach. "It seems like we haven't played in a long time. I'm just happy that we'll get some players who have some experience and we'll also get some players who haven't had a whole lot of USA Basketball experience at the national team level. So, meshing that spectrum of players is going to be the key to our success at the AmeriCup.
"I want us to get better defensively and have the mindset of wanting to excel in that area. Obviously we may not have all the players we had in the World Cup but we'll have some of them so we can continue to build on being dynamic on the defensive side of the basketball, and gain more continuity offensively and some flow with what we're trying to do."
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, and Diggins-Smith, who gave birth to her first child in April, are not cleared to play. However, they will participate in meetings and some on-court preparations.
The eighth member of the expanded training core group is Elena Delle Donne, who is unavailable after helping the Washington Mystics secure the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs, which advanced the Mystics to the semifinals.
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