WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 10, 2018)–The USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee announced today that Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum are among the 16 finalists selected for the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team.
Two-time defending World Cup gold medalists, the USA will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup, September 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
Headlined by four-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), who have claimed five World Cup gold medals between them, and two-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Tina Charles (New York Liberty), the list of finalists also includes 2016 Olympic gold medalists Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) and Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), as well as 2014 World Cup gold medalist Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks).
Wilson and Plum are hoping to earn a spot on their first USA World Cup Team, as are Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Napheesa Collier (University of Connecticut), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun), and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
Prior to arriving in the Canary Islands, for the World Cup, the USA will play in a four-team, international tournament in Antibes, France, September 15-17, against Canada, France and Senegal.
Griner and Taurasi will join the USA squad in time for the French tournament. Bird, Delle Donne, Loyd and Stewart advanced their teams to the WNBA Finals, and are expected to join the finalists at a later date.
The final 12-member 2018 USA World Cup Team will be selected by the USA Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee prior to the start of the World Cup.
The USA began training on September 3 in Columbia, South Carolina, with 18 athletes, and Williams joined the team in New York after the Dream was eliminated from the playoffs. After an intrasquad game on Sept. 5 in Columbia, the team earned two exhibition victories over Canada (74-68) on September 8 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Japan (102-87) on September 10 in Washington, D.C.
Assisting Staley through the World Cup are Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), who will join the team upon the conclusion of the WNBA Finals, Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington).
USA Basketball Women’s National Team
Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup and, if the USA qualifies, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-August 9 in Tokyo), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
The U.S. and Staley first will look to capture the title at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup of Basketball, with an automatic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games being awarded to the gold medalist. Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal in 2018, it would have two additional opportunities to qualify for the Olympics: the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup (dates and site TBD) and the 2020 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).
FIBA World Cup of Basketball
Winners of back-to-back World Cup titles and four of the past five FIBA World Cups, the USA owns a record nine gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Cup play, while compiling an all-time 103-21 record at the event. In 2014, the most recent World Cup, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Australia won bronze.
The USA will compete in preliminary round Group D and will play Senegal on September 22, China on September 23 and Latvia on September 25.
Group A includes Canada, France, Greece and South Korea; Group B is comprised of Argentina, Australia, Nigeria and Turkey; while Group C features Belgium, Japan, Puerto Rico and Spain.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded, and the top team from each group will earn an automatic berth to the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 teams from each group will advance to the September 26 quarterfinals play-in round. From there, winners will compete in the September 28-30 medal round.
About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and chaired by retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA national teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored five-on-five and 3×3 international competitions, as well as for some national competitions and for the development of youth basketball.
The USA Basketball Youth Development division is tasked with the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety, while promoting, growing, and elevating the game. USA Basketball is committed to providing youth throughout the country safe, fun and developmentally appropriate environments in which they can enjoy the game. Current USA Basketball youth initiatives include coach licensing and education; organization accreditation; coach academies; regional camps; youth clinics; open court programs; Women in the Game conferences; and the U.S. Open Basketball Championships.
Connect with USA Basketball at USAB.com and on Facebook (USABasketball and USABYouth), Twitter (@usabasketball, @USABYouth, @USAB3x3), Instagram (@USABasketball) and YouTube (therealusabasketball).