In an announcement directly from her Instagram account, Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings announced that she would be withdrawing her name from contention for Team USA in hopes of taking the extra time to recover from injuries.
In addition, Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press reported that Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker and Minnesota Lynx guard Monica Wright will not be participating in the FIBA World Championships either. Parker struggled with nagging injuries down the stretch of a disappointing 2014 WNBA campaign that saw head coach Carol Ross fired. Wright's Lynx squad, meanwhile, struggled with a plethora of injuries, including her own, and were eliminated in the conference finals by the Phoenix Mercury.
Though Wright has yet to make the USA Basketball National Women's Team, Catchings and Parker have been fixtures in the last two Olympics. Both figure to still be in the mix for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
While this news is disappointing, it also allows the door to open for younger players like Breanna Stewart, the Ogwumike sisters, or Elena Delle Donne to make the team. It also allows a deserving veteran like Candice Dupree to battle their way into a Team USA uniform. We've discussed it a bit throughout the WNBA season but it seems that we're at another transition point for the USA Basketball women's national team. Now is as good of a time as any to see it through.
The national team begins training camp on Monday, September 8, at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.