Via USA Basketball:
After three days of practices with 14 USA team finalists at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., the official 12-member 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team was announced Wednesday morning by USA Basketball. The U.S. squad that will look to defend the USA’s gold medal at the 2011 World University Games, Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China, features talented international veterans and some of the nation’s top collegians.
Named to the 2011 USA World University Games Team were Elena Delle Donne (Delaware/Wilmington, Del.); Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame/South Bend, Ind.); Jacki Gemelos (USC/Stockton, Calif.); Keisha Hampton (DePaul/Philadelphia, Pa.); Glory Johnson (Tennessee/Knoxville, Tenn.); Lynetta Kizer (Maryland/Woodbridge, Va.); Natalie Novosel (Notre Dame/Lexington, Ky.); Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford/Cypress, Texas); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford/Cypress, Texas); Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame/Chicago, Ill.); Odyssey Sims (Baylor/Irving, Texas) and Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee/Morrilton, Ark.).
“Getting the group down to 12 is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my lifetime, in coaching anyway,” said Bill Fennelly, USA World University Games Team and Iowa State University head coach. “You have 14 people who worked very hard at it, who were very committed to it and it’s not something like they weren’t good enough. It’s about trying to build a team with some versatility. It was very, very hard, but I’m very happy for the 12 young people who made it. They’ll do a great job representing USA Basketball and ultimately that’s what this is all about.
“There’s a step to this. When you had 14 there were things you didn’t want to get into, because they may not be here. They were all on a little bit of an edge, because they don’t know if they’re on the team or not. Some kids handle that differently. They play passive because they don’t want to make a mistake. It’s the whole idea of playing not to lose the game rather than playing to win the game. Now, they know they’re on the team and hopefully after their initial excitement, they can relax and refocus on figuring a way to win. We know the combinations, we know the people we’re going to work with now. It is a process, but I think moving from now until we leave the training center, I think we’ll be focused a lot differently on preparing and practicing for the task at hand, getting ready to play and building a team.”
Assisting Fennelly on the USA sideline are Suzie McConnell-Serio of Duquesne University and Terri Williams-Flournoy of Georgetown University.
The USA team will remain at the USOTC to train through Aug. 7, before traveling to Shenzhen for its final World University Games preparations. The U.S. opens play on Aug. 14 against Brazil, will face Slovakia on Aug. 15 and caps preliminary round action against Great Britain on Aug. 16. Quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 18, medal semifinals will be played Aug. 19 and the finals will be held Aug. 21.