COLORADO SPRINGS –Sixteen members of the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s National Team are expected to attend the USA’s second minicamp of the year from March 30-April 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
The 16 athletes who have confirmed participation in the camp are: Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Jordin Canada (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (Washington Mystics), Kahleah Copper (Chicago Sky), Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Phoenix Mercury), Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Angel McCoughtry (Las Vegas Aces), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
USA head coach Dawn Staley, whose University of South Carolina Gamecocks captured the Southeastern Conference Tournament title and are a No. 1 seed for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, may be unable to join the USA squad during training camp should South Carolina advance to the NCAA Final Four. However, should that happen, WNBA head coaches Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm) and Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti, who are serving as national team assistant coaches through the Tokyo Olympics, will be at the camp and conduct the practices in Staley’s stead.
“Any time we have an opportunity to get the USA National Team together on the court, we’re going to utilize it to our full advantage to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics,” said Staley. “While I’m excited to be able to get this group together later in March, I’m selfishly hoping that I’m not going to be able to join them because I’ll be with my South Carolina team preparing for the Final Four. In the event that I’m unable to make the USA practices, I will be in contact with Dan, Cheryl and Jen, working on practice plans and getting full reports from them. The most important thing is that our national team is on the court together for four days, which can only strengthen our chances this summer as we strive for a seventh-straight Olympic gold medal.”
The U.S. squad will train each day beginning at 10 a.m. CDT. However, due to COVID-19 precautions, no media or guests will be allowed to view practices. USA Basketball will provide media with images and b-roll for non-commercial, editorial use on a daily basis. Further, select athletes participating in the USA training camp will be available via video conference each day to assist media in covering the camp. The video conference schedule will be finalized and announced prior to the start of camp.
Comprehensive COVID-19 protocols will be utilized, including mandatory, daily COVID-19 PCR testing administered to participating athletes, coaches, officials and staff in accordance with USA Basketball health protocols and CDC guidelines.
Dallas Wings head coach Vickie Johnson and South Carolina assistant coach Lisa Boyer, if she is available due to USC’s tournament schedule, will serve as court coaches during the four-day camp.
Prior to the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, the 2019-20 USA National Team owned a combined 17-1 record, which includes a 3-0 mark in Serbia at the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, a 3-0 record at the 2019 FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Argentina, a 5-1 slate in exhibition games in 2019 and 2020 against college teams and a 6-0 mark and gold medal at the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup in Puerto Rico.
Copper, who attended her first USA National Team training camp in February, was subsequently added to the USA National Team pool, which now lists 32 athletes.
The remainder of the USA National Team pool, from which the Olympic team will be selected, includes: Seimone Augustus (Los Angeles Sparks), Layshia Clarendon (New York Liberty), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream), Kayla McBride (Las Vegas Aces), Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings), Katie Lou Samuelson (Seattle Storm), Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), Brittney Sykes (Los Angeles Sparks), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun) and Sydney Wiese (Los Angeles Sparks).
After last summer’s postponement, the 2020 Olympics, which will see 12 women’s basketball teams battling for gold, will be held July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. The USA women, which own a 66-3 all-time Olympic record, have captured the past six Olympic gold medals and currently are riding a 49-game winning streak that dates to the 1992 bronze medal game.