Delle Donne a finalist for Olympic hoop team

Former Delaware basketball star Elena Delle Donne is one of 25 finalists for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball team.

Last year’s WNBA MVP with the Chicago Sky, Delle Donne was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which will chose the official 12-member U.S. Olympic team later this year.

The USA Basketball Women’s National team will conduct a training camp Feb. 21-23 at the University of Connecticut. Athletes taking part in the minicamp, which is expected to be the final training before the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball team is selected, will be announced at a later date and will come from the pool of finalists.

Delle Donne-Sky by .

Elena Delle Donne

The group of finalists includes 15 athletes who have earned a combined 41 Olympic and FIBA World Championship gold medals.

“Naming the Olympic Team finalists is another step in our selection process,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. “Because of the quality and talent in the USA National Team pool, every time we pare the list it is a difficult task. Yet, we eventually have to get down to a 12-member team, so we conscientiously look at the present goal of winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games with an eye to sustaining our success in the future.

“This list of finalists is a mix of veterans, youth, international savvy and USA Basketball experience. What adds to the challenge of picking a team is the devotion and commitment all of our athletes have to our USA National Team and representing their country, especially given the year-round play many of them have in the WNBA and on overseas teams.”

“I think the committee has a tough decision ahead of it,” said USA and Connecticut 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. “When I look at this list of athletes, we could split them down the middle and have two very competitive teams. We have a great mix of gold medalists and players who are hungry to play in their first Olympics.

“There is versatility at all positions. Our posts are the strongest we’ve seen in years, we have guys who can shoot, guys who can defend, and I’m just happy I don’t have to make the decision as to who will be playing in Rio.”

Last October Delle Donne participated in the USA National Team’s European tour and aided the U.S. to a 4-0 record against a trio of European professional clubs and the Italian National Team.

Finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team include: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Skylar Diggins (Dallas Wings), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars), Odyssey Sims (Dallas Wings), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx).

Included on the roster of finalists are three-time Olympic gold medalists Bird, Catchings and Taurasi (2004, 2008, 2012); two-time Olympic gold medalists Augustus, Fowles and Parker (2008, 2012); and Charles, McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen, who have each earned one Olympic gold medal (2012).

Further, Bird is a four-time USA World Championship Team member and three-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist; Catchings, Charles, McCoughtry, Moore, Taurasi and Whalen have captured two World Championship gold medals; Fowles earned gold at the 2010 Worlds; and Augustus, Griner, Nneka Ogwumike, Sims and Stewart earned a gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship. Additionally, Augustus, Bird, Catchings, Parker and Taurasi returned with a bronze medal from the 2006

U.S. Olympic women’s basketball teams have earned a record seven gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, and are 58-3 all-time in Olympic competition. The 2016 U.S. team will enter Rio riding a 41-game Olympic winning streak that dates back to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medal game.

 

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