Featuring a stellar blend of veterans, who have won a combined 13 Olympic and 10 World Cup gold medals, and some of the top, young talent in the nation, 16 finalists have been selected for the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team. The athletes were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which is chaired by USA Women’s National Team director Carol Callan.
Two-time defending World Cup gold medalists, the USA will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup, Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
One headliner will be two-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Tina Charles (New York Liberty). Veteran leadership will also stem from four-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), who have claimed five World Cup gold medals between them; the list of finalists also includes 2016 Olympic gold medalists Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) and Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); as well as 2014 World Cup gold medalist Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks).
Hoping to earn a spot on their first USA World Cup Team are Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Napheesa Collier (University of Connecticut), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun), Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
“We had a great group of pool players that gave themselves a chance to be a part of the 16, but unfortunately the committee has to get that number down,” said USA and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. “The committee has to form a team that can compete at the highest level, and the unit that they selected should help us accomplish that. I’m just looking forward to leaving the country and playing some different competition, and continuing to create a bond and build the chemistry that is needed to win the World Cup.
“I’m always grateful for every player who made the commitment to come out. Obviously, to be a part of USA Basketball is pretty special. And, to sacrifice your time after your WNBA season, being away from your family for a week, another week, that is pretty special in itself, because not everybody was here, for one reason or another. But the ones who came, chose to come and sacrifice some quality time with their families and that’s why USA Basketball is always a place in which we appreciate those players who are willing to give up their time to help us win.”
Prior to arriving in the Canary Islands, for the World Cup, the USA will play in a four-team, international tournament in Antibes, France, Sept. 15-17, against Canada, France and Senegal.
Griner and Taurasi will join the USA squad in time for the French tournament. Bird, Delle Donne, Loyd and Stewart advanced their teams to the WNBA Finals, and are expected to join the finalists at a later date.
The final 12-member 2018 USA World Cup Team will be selected by the USA Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee prior to the start of the World Cup.
The USA began training on Sept. 3 in Columbia, South Carolina, with 18 athletes, and Williams joined the team in New York after the Dream was eliminated from the playoffs. After an intrasquad game on Sept. 5 in Columbia, the team earned two exhibition victories over Canada (74-68) on Sept. 8 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Japan (102-87) on Sept. 10 in Washington, D.C.
Assisting Staley through the World Cup are Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), who will join the team upon the conclusion of the WNBA Finals, Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington).
In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee includes three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Katie Smith as the athlete representative; representing the WNBA is Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller and Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler; and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who coached USA teams to gold medals at the past two Olympics and FIBA World Cups, serves as a special advisor.
Tina Charles’ USA Basketball Experience
Charles was tabbed a 2009 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cups, 2009 World University Games, 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. She took home the Bronze Medal at the 2005 Youth Development Festival. Internationally, she earned gold at the 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational (gold). She was a part of the 2017-20 USA National Team that participated in the winter 2018 USA camp in Columbia, South Carolina. Charles accepted an invitation to participate in the 2017 USA Women’s National Team training camp Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Santa Barbara, California, but was unable to attend the camp due to injury.
After playing for three USA junior teams from 2005-09, was invited to attend the USA National Team’s 2009 fall training camp and was later named to the 2010-12 USA National Team, one of just two collegiate athletes on the roster at the time. Since then, has captured a pair of FIBA World Championship gold medals and two Olympic gold medals. Charles helped the USA post a 19-2 record in exhibition games from 2009-16. She averaged a tournament fifth-best 7.4 rpg. in the 2012 Olympics.
Charles was the USA’s third-leading scorer (10.7 ppg.) and second-best rebounder (4.8 rpg.) at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, while playing just 16.4 minutes a game. She was a member of the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games Team that posted a 7-0 record and earned the gold medal in Belgrade, Serbia as well as a member of the 2006 U18 National Team that went 4-0 to win the gold medal; set a USA U18 all-time record for rebounding (9.5 rpg.).
She was also a member of the 2005 Youth Development Festival Red Team that finished 3-2 and earned the bronze medal.
About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and chaired by retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA national teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored five-on-five and 3×3 international competitions, as well as for some national competitions and for the development of youth basketball.
The USA Basketball Youth Development division is tasked with the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety, while promoting, growing, and elevating the game. USA Basketball is committed to providing youth throughout the country safe, fun and developmentally appropriate environments in which they can enjoy the game. Current USA Basketball youth initiatives include coach licensing and education; organization accreditation; coach academies; regional camps; youth clinics; open court programs; Women in the Game conferences; and the U.S. Open Basketball Championships.
Connect with USA Basketball at USAB.com