Auriemma on US Team, Stewart


Unlike the rest of the world, where national teams train together ahead of international competitions, players for the U.S. squad train with their respective WNBA teams. It's a slight disadvantage, though you wouldn't know it by the results.

"We unfortunately don't have the ability to do that [train together]," U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said Tuesday, via the Hartford Courant. "We understand the issues and we deal with them."

The United States will compete in the FIBA World Championship in Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5. Auriemma said that 10 of the 12 players who helped win the gold in the London Olympics in 2012 will be on this squad. One new face with a chance to earn a roster spot: Breanna Stewart, the rising UConn junior who has a good case for the best player -- male or female -- in college basketball.

"Breanna Stewart has always competed above her age level. That's been her history with USA Basketball," Auriemma said. "I know I am biased because I see her every day. But when [USA Basketball] trained in Las Vegas last fall [before the start of the 2013-14 college season] you would have been hard pressed to find someone who played better or was more productive during the camp than Breanna.

"If someone asked you to pick out the college player among the professionals, you would not have been able to say it was Breanna. Now, is she going to make the team? That remains to be seen. But is she comfortable competing and being successful against those players? Absolutely.

"She has a lot to improve on, don't get me wrong, but I would venture to say that players like Breanna, Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner, if you try to project into the future, are three of the players who may be next in line when we talk about those who could win three or four gold medals."

Stewart, who was the Final Four MVP in 2013 and the Associated Press Player of the Year in 2013-14, has helped lead the Huskies to national titles in her first two collegiate seasons.

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