Sept. 26, 2011
NAPLES, Italy -
Current Baylor player Brittney Griner and former Lady Bear Sophia Young are two of 10 players listed on the 2011 USA Basketball Women's National Team European tour roster. Griner, a junior at Baylor, is the only collegiate player on the team's roster.
Featuring some of the game's top stars, the players who will participate in the 2011 USA Basketball Women's National Team European training camp and exhibition games were announced today, including Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Brittney Griner (Baylor University), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun), and Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty).
Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars), a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who has lived in the United States since she was 15 and gained her U.S. citizenship on Sept. 2, has accepted an invitation to join the USA squad in Europe in hopes of being named to the 2011-12 USA National Team roster. Furthermore, Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars) will participate in the USA's first three games.
"I am excited that Sophia has her citizenship. I know that was a priority for her and she has really been patient in going through the process and I'm so happy for her. And now for her to be invited to be looked at for the USA Olympic team is something you can only dream about. I know that Sophia is a special player, a special young lady and to think that the timing of this is so perfect for her to have the opportunity to do this," said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey.
"Obviously, I'm very, very proud that we Brittney and Sophia are representing the USA in Europe. I'm grateful that I've been a small part of their lives and I know how much they're loved at Baylor and what they mean to Baylor and to this program," said Mulkey. "The international competition is important for Brittney's development as a player. She's still young, she's going to be the youngest one to go over there but it will be great for Brittney's development for when she comes back to the US."
"I am very excited and looking forward to playing internationally. I know the international game is a bit different, it's a different style of play and is pretty physical. I am honored to be able to wear the USA jersey, it's very humbling," said Griner.
Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi from the Phoenix Mercury are expected to join the squad in Europe later this week; while athlete(s) TBD from the Atlanta Dream or Indiana Fever may join the U.S. team following the conclusion of the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals.
The 2011 USA Basketball Women's National Team will open training camp in Naples, Italy, on Sept. 27 to begin preparing for a five-game European exhibition tour that runs through Oct. 9. The U.S. team will open its 2011 European tour with two games in Naples, Italy, as part of a tournament hosted by Pallacanestro Napoli, Sept. 30 - Oct. 1. In addition to the local club, participating teams in the Naples tournament include reigning Italian champion Famila Schio and 2011 EuroLeague Final Four contestant Ros Casares Valencia.
Traveling to Valencia, Spain, the U.S. will take on Ros Casares, current champion of the Spanish league, on Oct. 5; then face 2011 Czech league champion ZVVZ-USK Prague in the Czech Republic on Oct. 8; and close out the tour in Hungary against Hungarian Cup and Hungarian Championship winners UNIQA-Euroleasing Sopron on Oct. 9.
"This is a good opportunity to see some of the younger guys mix in with some of our veterans," said Geno Auriemma, 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. "For them especially, it's a great opportunity to show me what they can do against some talented international opponents. This is a big part of our Olympic preparation and it's really important for us as to see different combinations on the floor and continue their development with USA Basketball."
A two-time All-American who helped lead Baylor University to the 2005 NCAA title, Young was selected by San Antonio as the fourth overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft. The four-time WNBA All-Star owns career averages in her six-year WNBA career of 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. A member of the 2006 All-Rookie Team and 2008 WNBA All-Defensive Team, Young is a three-time All-WNBA honoree, earning first team honors in 2008 and second team honors in 2007 and 2009.
Robinson, a member of the 2009 USA World University Games Team that took home the gold medal with a perfect 7-0 record and the 2010 USA Select Team that trained with the USA National Team, earned 2011 WNBA All-Rookie Team honors after leading all rookies in assists with 3.9 apg. to go with 8.2 ppg. The No. 6 pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft entered the league after aiding the University of Oklahoma in her four-year collegiate career to a 104-37 (.738) record, the 2009 Big 12 regular season title and four NCAA Tournaments, including as far as the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Final Fours.
Doug Bruno (DePaul University), Jennifer Gillom, who will also serve as an assistant coach for the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team, and Marynell Meadors (Atlanta Dream) will act as assistant coaches to Auriemma and the USA National Team during its 2011 European tour. Should Meadors and the Dream advance to the WNBA Finals, the 2011 USA European Tour roster will feature just two assistants, Bruno and Gillom.
In all, the 2011-12 USA Basketball Women's National Team features a total of 26 players. In addition to Cash, Charles, Griner, Jones, Montgomery and Pondexter, the USA National Team includes: Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota Lynx), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Shameka Christon (Chicago Sky), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Lindsey Harding (Atlanta Dream), Ebony Hoffman (Los Angeles Sparks), Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx).
Four-time defending Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. will look to capture a fifth straight gold medal and extend its 33-game Olympic winning streak at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. The Olympic basketball competition will be held July 28-Aug. 12 in the Olympic Park Basketball Arena and North Greenwich Arena. Four countries have claimed spots in the eventual 12-nation field, including host country Great Britain; the United States, which earned its berth by virtue of earning the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship; China, winner of the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship; and Russia, winner of the 2011 EuroBasket. Three additional teams will earn spots this year by claiming gold at the remaining two zone qualifying tournaments, FIBA Africa and FIBA Oceania, while the final five teams will earn their spots at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (June 21-July 1 at a site TBD).
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team assistant coaches are expected to be selected later this year, while the final USA team, expected to come from the 26-member 2011-12 USA National Team roster, will be announced in 2012.
The USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee is comprised of WNBA representatives Reneé Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; Dan Hughes, Head Coach/General Manager of the San Antonio Silver Stars; and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager of the Indiana Fever Kelly Krauskopf; athlete representative and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, head coach of the Tulsa Shock; and USA Basketball Women's National Team Director Carol Callan.
For tour schedule, etc., please visit: USA Basketball