COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Taking advantage of a break in action of the European professional leagues, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will conduct a training camp Feb. 21-23 at the University of Connecticut. The minicamp, which is expected to be the final training camp before the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team is selected, is expected to feature 16 Olympic team finalists, including 10 who have captured a combined 32 Olympic and FIBA World Championship gold medals.
Because of the different schedules our player and coaches work under, we don’t have a lot of time to be together, so this three-day training camp becomes a vital part in our preparations,” said USA and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who has directed the USA National Team to an overall 23-0 record and gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships. “This is a good opportunity to train and help us prepare for Rio. It gives us a chance to take a look at some of the returning players that didn’t take the trip to Europe last fall and to continue to look at positions for the future. It gives the committee an opportunity to see where everyone is physically and how they fit in.”
Finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team who are expected to participate in the training camp include: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx).
Training sessions, which last approximately two hours, will begin at 11 a.m. (EST) Feb. 21 and 22, and 10 a.m. Feb. 23, and will be held at the University of Connecticut’s Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center in Storrs. Credentialed media will be allowed access to approximately the final half-hour of practice, and athletes and coaches will be available to the media immediately following practice each day.
Included on the training camp roster are three-time (2004, 2008, 2012) Olympic gold medalists Catchings, Bird and Taurasi; two-time (2008, 2012) Olympic gold medalist Augustus; and McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen, who helped the U.S. claim Olympic gold in 2012.
Further, Bird is a four-time USA World Championship Team member and three-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist; Catchings, McCoughtry, Moore, Taurasi and Whalen have captured two World Championship gold medals; and Augustus, Griner, Ogwumike and Stewart earned a gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship. Additionally, Augustus, Bird, Catchings and Taurasi returned with a bronze medal from the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Last October Bird, Delle Donne, Dolson, Griner, McCoughtry, Robinson, Stewart and Vandersloot participated in the USA National Team’s European tour and aided the U.S. to a 4-0 record against a trio of European professional clubs and the Italian National Team.
Auriemma will be assisted through the 2016 Olympic Games by DePaul University’s Doug Bruno, the Minnesota Lynx’ Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley.
University of Connecticut associate head coach Chris Dailey, University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti and WNBA Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams will serve as court coaches during the three-day training camp.
The final, 12-player 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team will be selected from the USA National Team pool by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. Chaired by USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan, the committee includes: WNBA appointees Reneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations; Dan Hughes, head coach and general manager of the San Antonio Stars; and Chris Sienko, vice president and general manager of the Connecticut Sun; and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist Katie Smith, who played in nearly 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008 and serves as the athlete representative.