Selecting the 2016 Women’s Olympic Basketball Team (VIDEO)

It’s no exaggeration to say that representing your country and participating in the Olympics is a dream come true for most athletes.

There are now 25 basketball players competing for 12 spots on the US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team. Fifteen of the 25 recently participated in a three-day training game run by USA Basketball at the University of Connecticut from February 21-23.

On the first day of the training game, SLAM spoke with Carol Callan, USA Basketball’s National Team Director to discuss the selection process. Callan is the chairperson of the selection committee for the women’s team that will compete in this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The other members of the selection committee are Renee Brown, the WNBA’s Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, Dan Hughes, Head Coach and General Manager of the San Antonio Stars, Chris Sienko , General Manager of the Connecticut Sun, and Katie Smith, assistant coach with the New York Liberty.

Carol spoke about how the following factors played a role in the selection process: individual talent, players who fit roles on the team, sentimentality, age, previous Olympic or international experience, previous opportunities to be in the Olympics, and previous relationships with coaching and administrative staff.

Ten of the players have played in previous Olympics: Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.

The US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team has won five straight Gold medals going back to 1996.

This roster is so loaded that if the 6 of the 25 players who played at UConn under current Olympic head coach Geno Auriemma constituted the starting five and the sixth man, they could probably be in the mix for the Gold. Auriemma was also the head coach for the US Olympic Women’s team in 2012.

It is expected that cutting the 25 to the final 12-woman roster will occur at one time, most likely late spring or early summer.

The current roster is:

2016 US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Finalists
Seimone Augustus G/F 31 Minnesota Lynx Louisiana State
Sue Bird G 35 Seattle Storm Connecticut
Tamika Catchings F 36 Indiana Fever Tennessee
Tina Charles C 27 New York Liberty Connecticut
Elena Delle Donne G/F 26 Chicago Sky Delaware
Skylar Diggins G 25 Dallas Wings Notre Dame
Stefanie Dolson C 24 Washington Mystics Connecticut
Candace Dupree F 31 Phoenix Mercury Temple
Sylvia Fowles C 30 Minnesota Lynx Louisiana State
Brittney Griner C 25 Phoenix Mercury Baylor
Briann January G 29 Indiana Fever Arizona State
Jantel Lavender C 27 Los Angeles Sparks Ohio State
Jewell Loyd G 22 Seattle Storm Notre Dame
Kayla McBride G 23 San Antonio Stars Notre Dame
Angel McCoughtry G/F 29 Atlanta Dream Louisville
Maya Moore F 26 Minnesota Lynx Connecticut
Chiney Ogwumike F 23 Connecticut Sun Stanford
Nnemkadi Ogwumike F 25 Los Angeles Sparks Stanford
Candace Parker F/C 29 Los Angeles Sparks Tennessee
Danielle Robinson G 26 San Antonio Stars Oklahoma
Odyssey Sims G 23 Dallas Wings Baylor
Breanna Stewart F/C 21 Seattle Storm Connecticut
Diana Taurasi G 33 Phoenix Mercury Connecticut
Courtney Vandersloot G 27 Chicago Sky Gonzaga
Lindsay Whalen G 33 Minnesota Lynx Minnesota