July 20, 2011
Colorado Springs, Colo.--- Former Gonzaga University women's basketball player and current WNBA Chicago Sky rookie Courtney Vandersloot has been added to the 2011-12 USA Basketball Women's National Team, as announced Monday. Vandersloot, along with Baylor University junior Brittney Griner, who also was added, increase the USA National Team roster to 26, from which the 12-member 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team will be named. Player selections were made by the five-member USA Basketball Women's Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee.
Both Vandersloot and Griner participated in the USA's May training camp.
"I was really excited when I found out," said Vandersloot. "I felt fortunate to even get the opportunity to train with them in May, but once I found out they were adding me to the pool I was really excited. It's a great opportunity for me to be able to play and learn from some of the best players in the world. I thought maybe later in my career, I would hopefully be given this chance, but I really didn't think it would be this soon. To even be considered is an honor."
"Brittney and Courtney fit right in with the rest of the team during our last training camp in Vegas," said Geno Auriemma, 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. "They proved during that training camp that they deserved to be there and I'm glad that the committee has added them to the team. Brittney adds a new dimension to the post play with her size and ability to not only block shots, but she's a game changer on the inside. She kept getting better and better each day. And I was also impressed by the way Courtney picked up everything quickly. You tell her once and she's running it. She's very smart and can do a lot of different things that you need in a point guard."
The No. 3 selection in the 2011 WNBA Draft, Vandersloot is currently averaging (as of games through 7/27/11) 8.3 points per game and a league seventh-best 4.4 assists per game for the Sky. She capped her 2010-11 collegiate season by leading Gonzaga University to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, the West Coast Conference Tournament and regular season titles and a 31-5 record. Vandersloot earned numerous 2011 All-America accolades, took home the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation's top player 5-8 and under, was named the WCC Player of the Year for the third consecutive year and also was named to the NCAA Tournament All-Spokane Regional Team. In her final year at Gonzaga, the 5-8 guard averaged a double-double of 19.8 points and 10.2 assists per game.
"I think that my willingness to learn helped a lot," added Vandersloot. "I went into (the Las Vegas training camp) with an open mind. I wanted to absorb as much as I could. I know that I'm a quick learner and I can adjust really quickly. I think the committee saw a lot of potential in that. Obviously I didn't outperform any of the players there, but it was just the fact that I worked as hard as I could when I was there and that I wanted to learn as much as I could from all the coaches and players there."
In addition to Griner and Vandersloot, the 2009-12 USA Basketball Women's National Team includes: Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota Lynx), Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Shameka Christon (Chicago Sky), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Lindsey Harding (Atlanta Dream), Ebony Hoffman (Los Angeles Sparks), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx).
Four-time defending Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. will look to capture a fifth straight gold medal and extend its 33-game Olympic winning streak at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. The Olympic basketball competition will be held July 28-Aug. 12 in the Olympic Park Basketball Arena and North Greenwich Arena. Three countries have claimed spots in the eventual 12-nation field, including host country Great Britain; the United States, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship; and Russia, winner of the 2011 EuroBasket. Four additional teams will earn spots this year by claiming gold at the remaining four zone qualifying tournaments, while the final five teams will earn their spots at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team assistant coaches are expected to be selected later this year, while the final USA team will be announced in 2012.
The USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee is comprised of WNBA representatives Reneé Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; Dan Hughes, Head Coach/General Manager of the San Antonio Silver Stars; and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager of the Indiana Fever Kelly Krauskopf; athlete representative and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards; and USA Basketball Women's National Team Director Carol Callan.
-Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics