Mike Siroky's SEC Report: League Has One Rep While UConn Has Four in Next National Challenge
Candace Parker, at age 29, will have an end of summer adventure.
She is the only SEC player on the roster of the team that will represent America in a European tour in October.
The Tennessee All-American plays professionally in the United States for the Los Angeles Sparks.
The WNBA is wrapping up its season and L.A. is already done.
The best-represented college is, of course, indomitable UConn with Sue Bird, Stefanie Dolson, Tina Charles and returning national college player of the year Breanna Stewart.
All the rest are paid by various professional teams in America and Europe.
Teammates include Brittney Griner, Candice Dupree, Courtney Vandersloot, Angel McCoughtry, Elena Delle Donne and Danielle Robinson.
Of them all Bird, a three-time Olympic Gold medalist and the most-decorated FIBA World Championship athlete in the world, is the team leader, at age 34.
Griner will miss 20 percent of the training camp as a result of her guilty plea in the domestic assault case. She had agreed her next camp would be the one in which the penalty would be applied.
Bird is shooting for her fourth U.S. Olympic Team in 2016.
The Women's National Team continues its preparations for 2016 this week with a European Tour from Oct. 2-10 that will feature games in Barcelona, Rome, Naples and Prague.
That’s what this tour is about, assembling players who undoubtedly have the inside track for the ‘16 Games.
Others will be added and some may be dropped, but this is the core talent for Team USA right now.
The team is selected and administrated by USA Basketball.
The 11 USA Women's National Team athletes have accepted invitations to participate in a training camp in Spain, and compete in four exhibition games in Spain, Italy and Czech Republic from Oct. 2-10.
The USA squad will train Oct. 2-3 in Barcelona, Spain, before taking on professional EuroLeague club Uni Girona on Oct. 4 in Girona, Spain.
Following a final practice in Barcelona, the team will travel to Italy to face the Italian National Team on Oct. 7 in Rome and the Dike Naples professional team on Oct. 8 in Naples.
The tour concludes with a game against 2015 EuroLeague champion USK Prague on Oct. 9 in Prague, Czech Republic.
"It's one of the obstacles that we have every Olympic year; the amount of time we get with our players," said USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma , who since being selected to coach the USA Basketball Women's National Team in 2009 has piloted the USA National Team to an overall 23-0 record and gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games.
He is UConn’s coach and has won more NCAA titles than any other.
"This is another example of that. We are going to have 10 days together, so we'll have a couple practices and a couple games but we are going to be missing some players.
"All the players that are playing in the WNBA Finals won't be there, which means some of our best players won't be there.
“That's difficult because it doesn't give you a great sense of everyone that is eligible for the team. But in the end, you have to do what you have to do and out of this maybe some younger players or some players that we really didn't know too much about show us something and put themselves in the mix."
Auriemma is being assisted through the 2016 Olympic Games by DePaul University's Doug Bruno, University of South Carolina's Dawn Staley.
University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti – another Auriemma All-American while at UConn -- will serve as a court coach during the USA's European Tour.
The Minnesota Lynx' Cheryl Reeve is another Team USA assistant, but has team in the 2015 WNBA Finals and therefore will not be on the sideline during the 2015 European Tour.
The 2016 Olympic Games are Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro.
A total of 12 nations will compete in the Olympic women's basketball competition, including host Brazil and the USA, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship.
Australia (Oceania), Canada (Americas), Japan (Asia) and Serbia (Europe) claimed their respective FIBA zone championship to earn a spot in the Rio field, while the African champion, which will be crowned on Oct. 3, will claim the seventh spot.
The remaining berths will be awarded to the top five finishing teams at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (June 13-19, 2016).
Qualified for that tournament based on finishes in their respective zone championships: Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela from the Americas; China and South Korea from Asia; Belarus, France, Spain and Turkey from Europe; New Zealand from Oceania; and the two teams TBD from the AfroBasket Championship (Sept. 24-Oct. 3).
U.S. Olympic women's basketball teams have earned a record seven Gold medals, one Silver medal and one Bronze medal.
They 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.
Since the inception of the 1995-96 USA Basketball Women's National Team program, the USA National Team, in addition to its record five-straight Olympic gold medals, has captured four FIBA World Championship gold medals, one FIBA World Championship bronze medal and one FIBA Americas Championship gold medal, while compiling a remarkable 86-1 record for a .989 winning percentage in those events.
Further, USA National Teams in exhibition contests since 1995 boast of a 186-15 record (.925 winning percentage).
The final 12-player 2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team will be selected from the 2015-16 USA National Team pool by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee.
Chaired by USA Basketball women's national team director Carol Callan, the committee includes WNBA appointees Reneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations; Dan Hughes, head coach and general manager of the San Antonio Stars; andChris Sienko , vice president and general manager of the Connecticut Sun; and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist Katie Smith, who played in nearly 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008, and serves as the athlete representative.
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Basketball, chaired by Jerry Colangelo , is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's 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 teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.
USA Basketball men's and women's teams between 2012-15 compiled a 151-6 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the World University Games and the Nike Hoop Summit, and posted a 76-12 win-loss record in official FIBA and FIBA Americas 3x3 competitions.
USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics; men's FIBA World Cup and women's FIBA World Championship; men's and women's FIBA U19 and U17 World Championships; men's and women's U18 FIBA Americas Championships; men's U16 FIBA Americas Championship; the FIBA 3x3 Women's World Championship; and the women's Youth Olympic Games. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world-ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.
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