Team USA coach Geno Auriemma had until Sept. 26 to decide on which 12 players would comprise the group that would travel to Turkey Saturday to compete in the FIBA world championships. By Tuesday -- a full three days before the deadline, Auriemma knew who he wanted, and the final roster includes UConn junior Breanna Stewart.
Center Jantel Lavender was the final cut -- the announcement came after Tuesday's exhibition win over the Czech Republic -- and now Stewart will join 11 others on the roster. She also becomes the third Huskies player to represent her country while still in college (Maya Moore did it in 2010 and Kara Walters did it in 1994).
“I think anytime a team is selected, you are always excited about who was picked and disappointed for those who weren’t picked,” Auriemma said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “We knew it was going to be difficult. We are missing so many veterans from previous world championships and the Olympics, so it was a great opportunity for some younger players for some new faces to be added. I think they’ve done a great job. I think from what I can see, we’ve got a little bit of everything. We still have, obviously, some things that we have to work on. Brittney is going to get here, and this will be her first time through this. Odyssey’s first time. Breanna’s first time. Nneka’s first time. That’s a lot of new faces. I know our coaching staff has our work cut out for us, and we are excited to finally get the team together and get started.”
Along with Stewart, Team USA includes: Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Candice Dupree, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Odyssey Sims, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.