This morning, Team USA announced their 12-woman roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The team is headlined by WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore and Tamika Catchings. Also, worth noting is that the captains for the team are Sue Bird, Catchings and Diana Taurasi.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision for the selection committee, but a very positive challenge given the talented athletes in our pool," said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee. "If you combine the returning 2012 Olympians with the 2014 world champions, you have 15 very qualified candidates.
Add to that an emerging group of young athletes and the decision becomes that much harder to settle on a final 12-member roster. The good news is that we have developed a deep, talented pool of athletes at each position through our national team program. We are grateful that the very best athletes in our country want to play and push each other to be better whenever our team gathers to train.
"This team has all of the areas necessary for success covered - talent and depth at each position, flexibility to play several positions, leadership on and off the court, international experience, demonstrated teamwork and a blend of veterans and youth. They understand their roles and the responsibility of representing the U.S. in Rio, and we look forward to watching their journey as they work toward a sixth-straight gold medal."
"Obviously it's always incredibly difficult to try to identify 12 players from a group of so many great players," said USA and University of 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.
"The committee had a really difficult job this year, because it's the first time in a long time that a lot more than 12 players could easily have been named to that team. But the 12 that were named are a great combination of Olympic gold-medal experience, multiple gold medal winners and great leaders.
"There is also an influx of young players, which not only is going to be a great benefit to us this year, but I think it will set the stage going forward in two years for the (FIBA) World Championship and then in four years in Tokyo. They will be the future of the USA Basketball Women's National Team."
The full roster is listed below:
- Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)
- Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)
- Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
- Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
- Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
- Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx)
- Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)
- Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)
- Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
- Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)
- Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)
- Tina Charles (New York Liberty)
Most noticeably missing from the team is Los Angeles Sparks superstar Candace Parker. It was widely reported yesterday that Parker would be omitted from Olympic team.