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USA announce star-studded Olympic squad
COLORADO SPRINGS (2016 Rio Olympics) - A couple of familiar faces have returned to the United States women's national team for the Olympics while WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne has been included for the first time.
USA Basketball announced their squad for the Rio de Janeiro Games with Tamika Catchings and Sylvia Fowles, two players absent from the 2014 FIBA Women's World Championship-winning side, being named in the team.
Seimone Augustus, Tina Charles, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Lindsay Whalen have also been named in the squad. Griner, an All-Star Five selection with Moore at the World Championship two years ago, and Stewart will like Delle Donne be making their Olympic debuts.
Members of the World Championship-winning squad that are not in the Olympic team are Candice Dupree, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims. Dupree was also a world champion in 2010 but did not make the 2012 Olympic squad.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision for the selection committee, but a very positive challenge given the talented athletes in our pool," said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.
If you combine the returning 2012 Olympians with the 2014 world champions, you have 15 very qualified candidates. Add to that an emerging group of young athletes and the decision becomes that much harder to settle on a final 12-member roster. The good news is that we have developed a deep, talented pool of athletes at each position through our national team program. - Callan
Geno Auriemma, the USA coach, steered the USA to their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal four years ago in London. His performance in Great Britain, as well as title wins he guided the team to at the 2010 and 2014 Women's World Championships, suggest he will be able to cope with the lofty expectations. His USA team stormed to the championship two years ago in Turkey.
Auriemma recently led the University of Connecticut to their 11th national title. He has been at the helm of all of those teams.
"Obviously it’s always incredibly difficult to try to identify 12 players from a group of so many great players," Auriemma said.
His record with the USA is 23-0.
"The committee had a really difficult job this year, because it's the first time in a long time that a lot more than 12 players could easily have been named to that team. But the 12 that were named are a great combination of Olympic gold-medal experience, multiple gold medal winners and great leaders."
There is also an influx of young players, which not only is going to be a great benefit to us this year, but I think it will set the stage going forward in two years for the (FIBA) World Championship and then in four years in Tokyo. They will be the future of the USA Basketball Women's National Team. - Auriemma
USA women's 12-player roster for 2016 Olympics: Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.