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Need an NCAA team? Root for Team USA’s alma maters this season

With the NCAA season starting in just about a month, take some time to learn a little bit about each Team USA player’s college team.

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NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Albany Regional-South Carolina vs Connecticut
Katie Lou Samuelson represents the latest wave of excellence at the University of Connecticut and figures to be an early first-round pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the WNBA season and the FIBA World Cup are over, all of the Team USA players are headed to their overseas teams and other offseason commitments. Although it won’t be easy to watch these particular players again until the WNBA season restarts in May 2019, allow us to propose a solution in the meantime: root for their college teams!

With college hoops right around the corner and practices having started across the country, here’s a little about each Team USA player’s alma mater:

Baylor University

Team USA player: Brittney Griner (‘13)

Conference: Big 12

Last postseason appearance: NCAA Sweet Sixteen (2018)

Best NCAA finish: National champions (2005, 2012)

Fun fact: In 2012 (Griner’s junior season), Baylor became the first NCAA Division I team, men’s or women’s, to earn a 40-0 record. The NCAA Tournament saw them outscore their opponents by an average of 20.8 points per game.

Stanford University

Team USA player: Nneka Ogwumike (‘12)

Conference: Pac-12

Last postseason appearance: NCAA Sweet Sixteen (2018)

Best NCAA finish: National champions (1990, 1992)

Fun fact: Stanford has made 31 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, second only to Tennessee’s 37 (the number of years the women’s tournament has taken place). They also have the distinction of being the first-ever one-seed to fall to a 16-seed, losing to Harvard in the first round in 1998.

University of California–Berkeley

Team USA player: Layshia Clarendon (‘13)

Conference: Pac-12

Last postseason appearance: NCAA First Round (2018)

Best NCAA finish: Final Four (2013)

Fun fact: Clarendon’s senior season saw the Golden Bears make their first-ever NCAA Final Four, during which they compiled a 32-4 record (and went 17-1 in the stacked Pac-12). Cal is also the 2010 WNIT (Women’s National Invitation Tournament) champion.

University of Connecticut

Team USA players: Sue Bird (‘02), Diana Taurasi (‘04), Tina Charles (‘10), Breanna Stewart (‘16), Morgan Tuck (‘16)

Conference: AAC

Last postseason appearance: NCAA Final Four (2018)

Best NCAA finish: National champion 11 times (most recently in 2016)

Fun fact: Not only have 23 UConn players been selected in the first round of the WNBA draft, the 2016 draft was the first time any school in any major sport saw three of its players — Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck — go 1-2-3 in a professional draft.

University of Delaware

Team USA player: Elena Delle Donne (‘13)

Conference: CAA

Last postseason appearance: WNIT First Round (2018)

Best NCAA finish: Sweet Sixteen (2013)

Fun fact: Elena Delle Donne — once a UConn commit — put this team on the map, leading the Fightin’ Blue Hens to two straight undefeated CAA seasons and the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win, culminating in a Sweet Sixteen appearance her senior year.

University of Notre Dame

Team USA player: Jewell Loyd (‘15)

Conference: ACC

Last postseason appearance: NCAA Championship (2018)

Best NCAA finish: National champion (2001, 2018)

Fun fact: Not only are the Fighting Irish the defending national champion, senior Arike Ogunbowale’s game-winning shot to win the title was immortalized by the Notre Dame marching band in the Sept. 29 football halftime show:

University of South Carolina

Team USA player: A’ja Wilson (‘18)

Conference: SEC

Last postseason appearance: NCAA Elite Eight (2018)

Best NCAA finish: National champion (2017)

Fun fact: South Carolina has led the nation in per-game home attendance since the 2014-15 season, when it ended Tennessee’s 11-year reign. (This was also Wilson’s freshman season, where she averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.) Plus: Team USA Head Coach Dawn Staley is also the South Carolina head coach.

University of Washington

Team USA player: Kelsey Plum (‘17)

Conference: Pac-12

Last postseason appearance: NCAA Sweet Sixteen (2017)

Best NCAA finish: NCAA Final Four (2016)

Fun fact: Not only did Plum lead the Huskies to their first-ever Final Four appearance in 2016, she also holds the women’s NCAA records in career points at 3,527 (good for No. 2 all-time when combining men and women) and points in a season at 1,109.