Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner will lead the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in Rio, seeking a sixth straight title for Team USA.
USA Basketball announced the 12-woman roster, chosen by a committee, featuring a men’s or women’s national record nine players with Olympic experience:
Seimone Augustus (2008, 2012)
Sue Bird (2004, 2008, 2012)
Tamika Catchings (2004, 2008, 2012)
Tina Charles (2012)
Elena Delle Donne
Sylvia Fowles (2008, 2012)
Angel McCoughtry (2012)
Maya Moore (2012)
Diana Taurasi (2004, 2008, 2012)
Lindsay Whalen (2012)
Candace Parker, a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, was the only players with Olympic experience who didn’t make the team from the 25 overall finalists announced in January. Other 2012 Olympians Asjha Jones and Swin Cash were not finalists.
Skylar Diggins was also among the finalists who didn’t make the team after being one of the final four cuts from the 2014 World Championship team.
Catchings, 36, is the oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player of all time, according to sports-reference.com.
Stewart, 21, is the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988. She recently won her fourth NCAA title with Connecticut and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm.
“Well, first of all when I saw that [national team director Carol] Callan was calling, I had a mini heart attack,” Stewart said, according to the Associated Press. “Because I’m like, ‘What’s going to happen? I don’t know! I don’t know!’ And then I answered it, and obviously I knew who was calling, but when she congratulated me, it was . I was speechless. I did not know what to say.”
Stewart played at the 2014 World Championship just after turning 20, recording a total of 36 minutes over six games and scoring 11 points, fewest on the team.
Catchings, Bird and Taurasi can tie former teammates Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie for the most Olympic team sport gold medals for an American.
Griner is on her first Olympic team after withdrawing from 2012 Olympic consideration due to a family illness and her summer school schedule, three months before the London Games.
“When I got the call, I was speechless,” Griner said, according to the AP. “Just knowing that this will be my first Olympics that I’ll be able to go to and play in, I’ve always said that that’s the biggest stage you could play on. It doesn’t get any bigger than putting on that jersey and playing for gold.”
Bird, Taurasi, Moore, Charles and Griner started every game at the 2014 World Championship, which Catchings, Delle Donne and Fowles missed due to injuries.
The U.S. women’s basketball team has won 41 straight Olympic games since losing to the Unified Team in the Barcelona 1992 semifinals.
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