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USA Basketball links: Players get a taste of Midshipman life and tough decisions are ahead

Yup, it's a second links post, but for the National Team. Here are some things that were going on as the USA Basketball women's national team gets ready for the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

On Thursday, the USA Basketball women's national team will hold an intrasquad scrimmage at the University of Delaware at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on ESPN2.

Before heading to Delaware, the team spent three days at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, where approximately 4,000 midshipmen go to college and train to become commissioned officers in the Navy and the Marine Corps upon graduation.

Here's a quick link dump of the events during the last few days:

We posted Bill Wagner's article on the Capital Gazette in the Daily Swish, but I'm going to highlight some other things. The women's national team was definitely an attraction beyond just the coaches.

As you might expect, the midshipmen themselves had a chance to meet the team. Navy junior starting quarterback Keenan Reynolds who went to Halsey Field House to see his favorite player, Skylar Diggins. He's not just a starting quarterback. He's a dark horse Heisman candidate too. After all, he rushed for an FBS-record 31 touchdowns, and ran for seven scores in one game. (Navy plays a triple-option offense, not a pro-style one).

Anyway, here's the money quote when he met Diggins:

...apparently even a star can become star-struck.

That was evident on Tuesday when Reynolds made his way over to Halsey Field House to meet Skylar Diggins, his favorite women's basketball player. Diggins, who led Notre Dame to three Final Four appearances and is now a WNBA All-Star with the Tulsa Shock, smiled as Reynolds shyly approached to pose for a picture.

"I've heard about you," Diggins said to Reynolds, who was momentarily flustered and stammered a bit before responding.

Awwwww! Read here for more.

Last Monday, Jason Butt of USAB.com detailed that the selection process for these players will be more difficult than in previous years. Here is what Team USA Head Coach Geno Auriemma said:

In the past it might have been very simple trying to find out who the 12 best players in the country are. Everybody knew who they were. Boom, let’s do it. Fifteen at the max. Now, you get to 20 and you still go, ‘Well, what about this guy? What about that guy?’ So, we’re in an enviable situation as far as that’s concerned that we have many more choices than we used to eight years ago.

Even though there are 17 players on the roster, it's going also be a tough process given that seven players are in the WNBA Finals right now. Auriemma said, "Even if you cut five players off of this roster and you’re at 12, next week you’re back to 19. It’s not going to be easy."

Click here for more. And if you're a junkie of this network like I am, Jason is the site manager at SB Nation Baltimore Ravens site Baltimore Beatdown.

We talked about Navy's starting quarterback Keenan Reynolds being skylarstruck. But Team USA had a chance to meet the Midshipmen women's basketball team as well, from another piece by Jason Butt. The two teams had a chance to meet before the Brigade of Midshipmen made its noon meal formation. Navy senior Chloe Stapleton was very excited about the chance to meet the national team, where she said "We grew up watching these women play. We watch them on TV all the time. It’s awesome to see them and meet with them, have them come to lunch."

Click here to read more.

USAB has a third piece here from the national team's time in Annapolis, where the team held a Hoops for Troops clinic. Click here to read.

WNBA.com also has some blog posts and Instagram photos from the week. Check them out here.

And finally, since Annapolis is close to Washington, D.C., Monumental Network's Dan Nolan was able to attend practice and interview Washington Mystics guard Bria Hartley and center Stefanie Dolson. The video is embedded below if you're on a desktop browser. Otherwise, click here.

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