NEW YORK (AP) — Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are back for another run with the U.S. women’s basketball team.
The four-time Olympic gold medalists are among the 29 players chosen Thursday for the national team pool. Eleven members of the 2016 Olympic team that won a sixth consecutive gold medal for the Americans are in the group. The only player missing from that team is Tamika Catchings, who retired after the 2016 WNBA season.
“Our strength has always been our best players play over and over. Our veteran players want to play,” U.S. national team director Carol Callan said. “They appreciate representing our country and being part of the USA Basketball culture. We’ve selected athletes that are a mix of young with the older players. We cover each position well.”
The U.S. already has qualified for next year’s FIBA World Cup, which will be held in Spain.
There are five college players in the pool: UConn’s Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson, Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell and Louisville’s Asia Durr. Most, if not all, of them won’t participate in a training camp that will be held in South Carolina from Feb. 9-11. U.S. national team coach Dawn Staley said that Wilson, if her class schedule permits, will be around for the training camp.
“If she doesn’t have class, I want her to sit front and center to see how the Olympians, two-, three-, four-time…