Sue Bird looks on at the U.S. women's basketball game against Spain at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
When the U.S. women’s basketball team begins its run at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup this weekend, fans won’t have to look far to find a player with a championship pedigree.
The 12-player roster announced Wednesday by USA Basketball has won a combined 23 Olympic and World Cup gold medals, with veterans Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi both owners of four Olympic gold medals.
The team begins its run for a record third consecutive World Cup gold medal on Saturday when it plays Senegal in Tenerife, Spain.
Leading the way for Team USA is point guard Bird, who is coming off her third WNBA championship earlier this month with the Seattle Storm. The 37-year-old Bird will become the first U.S. player to compete at five World Cups (the event was previously called the FIBA World Championship for Women).
Joining her in Spain is Seattle teammate Breanna Stewart, who at age 24 will be competing in her second World Cup. Stewart, a forward, recently became the 11th American to win championships at the NCAA, WNBA, Olympic and World Cup levels.
Taurasi, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner are the other 2016 Olympians on the roster. Combined, the U.S. players have 13 Olympic gold medals to their names.
The other seven players are Layshia Clarendon, Jewell Loyd, Nneka Ogwumike, Kelsey Plum, Morgan Tuck and A’ja Wilson. South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley will lead Team USA.
“We have great experience,” said Staley, herself a three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup champion as a player. “We have some up-and-coming younger players who need to get experience playing at this level. So, we have a great mix of both, and we are looking forward to forging ahead, getting as much time together as possible before we start and as we continue throughout the tournament.”
Following Saturday’s game against Senegal, the U.S. will continue play in Group D against China at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday and finish preliminary play against Latvia at 1 p.m. ET on Monday. Following the preliminary round, the top three teams from each group will advance to the playoff round.
The U.S. women are going for its first three-peat in the World Cup. No other country has more than Team USA’s nine wins in the tournament.