Ten of the 12 members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team are among 25 finalists to make the Rio squad.
Three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings, plus the last four WNBA MVPs Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore, Candace Parker and Tina Charles and Brittney Griner were among the finalists announced Monday.
“We could split them down the middle and have two very competitive teams,” coach Geno Auriemma said in a press release. “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.”
The two members of the 2012 Olympic team out of the running are former UConn players Swin Cash and Asjha Jones.
Competition to make the Olympic team will be fierce.
Delle Donne and Griner lead the group of potential first-time Olympians, including guard Skylar Diggins, one of the final four cuts from the 2014 World Championship team, reigning WNBA No. 1 pick and Rookie of the Year Jewell Loyd and UConn senior Breanna Stewart.
Stewart, 21, is younger than any U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988, according to sports-reference.com. Stewart did make the 2014 World Championship roster.
Catchings, 36, is the oldest finalist and, in August, will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player, according to sports-reference.com.
The expected final training camp before the Olympic team is named will be Feb. 21-23 at the University of Connecticut.
Sue Bird — Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012)
Diana Taurasi — Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012)
Lindsay Whalen — Olympian (2012)
Seimone Augustus — Olympian (2008, 2012)
Tamika Catchings — Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012)
Elena Delle Donne
Angel McCoughtry — Olympian (2012)
Maya Moore — Olympian (2012)
Candace Parker — Olympian (2008, 2012)
Tina Charles — Olympian (2012)
Sylvia Fowles — Olympian (2008, 2012)