Jan. 13, 2014
WACO, Texas - Three current or former Baylor women's basketball players, Odyssey Sims, Brittney Griner and Sophia Young, are included in the 33-player 2014-16 USA Basketball Women's National Team pool, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team and, if the U.S. qualifies, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be selected, USA Basketball announced today.
Griner, a member of the Phoenix Mercury and Young, who plays for the San Antonio Silver Stars, competed for USA Basketball in 2011 as part of USA Basketball Women's National Team European tour, while Sims has a pair of gold medals from the 2011 and 2013 USA World University Games teams, earning World University Games co-MVP honors in 2013.
"Any time I can play for USA Basketball and go and represent my county that speaks volumes. I'm blessed to be part of a great organization, and I'm just happy," said Sims. "It's a dream I've always had. I've always wanted to play on a big stage. Being named to the national team and having my name in the pool means a lot. Hopefully, I will get selected. If not, I'll keep playing and hopefully make my dream come true one day."
The USA Basketball Women's National Team over the next three years will compete in the 2014 FIBA World Championship (Sept. 27 - Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey), and if the USA qualifies, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5 - 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
Highlighting the returning veterans are three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); two-time Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks); 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx); and Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) and Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), who were members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Further, Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), members of the 2010 USA World Championship Team that won gold, have been named to the pool.
Also named to the 2013-16 USA National Team roster were: DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (University of Connecticut), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Glory Johnson (Tulsa Shock), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (University of Notre Dame), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Odyssey Sims (Baylor University), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) and Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars).
"I think the game has changed tremendously and we are fortunate that the pool is probably greater than it's ever been," said Geno Auriemma, 2013-16 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. "The gap between those that have won gold medals and those that are still playing for the USA Basketball National Team and those that want to be part of it who are younger and have made a name for themselves is narrowing every year. I'm excited that we have so many great players to choose from.
"It's always difficult when you're trying to put together a team. It doesn't always come down to picking the 12 best players, putting them on the team and let's go. I think there are other factors that go into it, and hopefully the committee and the coaches can come up with a team that is capable of winning gold medals and represents the U.S. in the best possible manner. At the same time, part of the goal needs to include preparing for life after some of these great Olympians who have won multiple gold medals. I wish it was as simple as picking the leading scorers and leading rebounders or just picking the most famous players in the WNBA and let's go get `em! But it's a lot more complicated than that so it will be very difficult."
For complete release and roster, please visit: http://www.usabasketball.com.