COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – September 1, 2018 – The 2018 USA Basketball Women’s National Team are scheduled to train Sept. 3-5 in Columbia, South Carolina, with a roster headlined by a trio of World Cup gold medalists including New York Liberty forward Tina Charles. Three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist and New York Liberty head coach Katie Smith will serve as the athlete representative for the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.
Joining Charles’ championship experience are Los Angeles Sparks teammates Nneka Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims. Former University of South Carolina All-Americans Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces); and current Gamecock Tyasha Harris will look to be fan favorites.
Following two days of practice, the USA squad will compete in a Red-White intrasquad exhibition contest at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the Lexington Medical Center Box Office inside Colonial Life Arena, through ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.
Two-time defending World Cup gold medalists, the USA has completed three training camps over the past year, and the South Carolina camp marks the tip-off of the team’s final preparations for the 2018 FIBA World Cup, which will be held Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
“I’m excited to get started next week,” said USA and South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. “Anytime you have veterans who have done this two, three, four or more years, people who have participated in World Cups and who are committed to coming back and playing, it gives the coaching staff a sigh of relief. So, we have a few veterans, and then we have some young players who may have an opportunity to experience their first World Cup, and I’m excited for them. These things are fluid, we’ll add more players as we go along. But, I know that whoever is here is extra committed to the task at hand, and that is winning a gold medal.
“The Red-White game is going to be fun for our fans. Our fans here at South Carolina are basketball fans. They support basketball. And at a time when everyone here is excited about football, including me, they’re still excited about basketball. And, the Red-White game is a prelude to our basketball team’s season […].”
Of the 18 athletes expected to participate in the training camp in hopes of being named to the 2018 USA World Cup Team, 12 are members of the USA National Team pool, while six are athletes who possess prior USA Basketball experience and are expected to contend for future USA National Team rosters.
In addition to Charles, Gray, Harris, Tiffany Mitchell, Ogwumike, Sims and Wilson, athletes who have confirmed their participation in the USA training camp include: Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun); Napheesa Collier (University of Connecticut); Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Ruthy Hebard (University of Oregon); Sabrina Ionescu (University of Oregon); Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever); Arike Ogunbowale (University of Notre Dame); Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces); Jessica Shepard (University of Notre Dame); and Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun).
The USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee issued invitations to attend the Sept. 3-5 camp to DeShields, Harris, Hebard, Ionescu, Ogunbowale and Shepard, who are not members of the 2018-20 USA National Team pool. However, all six have earned gold medals playing on USA Basketball junior teams, and are among some of the top, young athletes in the nation.
In addition to her two World Cup gold medals, Charles is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and will provide veteran leadership at the camp.
Further, Ogwumike and Sims, who were members of the 2014 USA World Cup Team that captured gold and, along with Dolson, were among 25 finalists named for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team.
Traveling up the coast to Bridgeport, Connecticut, the USA continues its exhibition schedule with a 7 p.m. (EDT) game against Canada on Sept. 8 at Webster Bank Arena, and closes out its domestic tour against Japan at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 at George Washington University’s Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to the USA’s exhibition games, Canada and Japan will square off at Webster Bank Arena at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7.
Information on purchasing tickets for each of the exhibition games can be found at usab.com/WNTtickets.
Members of the USA National Team pool who are participating in the 2018 WNBA playoffs will not be available for the beginning of the camp, but may be added at a later date. Those athletes include: Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
Prior to arriving in Tenerife, Canary Islands, for the World Cup, the USA will play in a four-team, international tournament in Antibes, France, Sept. 15-17, against Canada, France and Senegal.
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.
Assisting Staley through the World Cup are Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), whose Seattle Storm is still in the WNBA playoffs and will join the team upon the conclusion of the Storm’s season, Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington).
As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2018-20 USA National Team roster will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2018 USA World Cup and 2020 U.S. Olympic teams, should the USA qualify to compete in Tokyo, will be comprised of players from the 2018-20 USA National Team.
USA Basketball Women’s National Team director Carol Callan chairs the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which includes three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Smith as the athlete representative; representing the WNBA is Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller and Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler; and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who coached USA teams to gold medals at the past two Olympics and FIBA World Cups, serves as a special advisor.
Tina Charles’ USA Basketball Experience
Charles was tabbed a 2009 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cups, 2009 World University Games, 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. She took home the Bronze Medal at the 2005 Youth Development Festival. Internationally, she earned gold at the 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational (gold). She was a part of the 2017-20 USA National Team that participated in the winter 2018 USA camp in Columbia, South Carolina. Charles accepted an invitation to participate in the 2017 USA Women’s National Team training camp Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Santa Barbara, California, but was unable to attend the camp due to injury.
After playing for three USA junior teams from 2005-09, was invited to attend the USA National Team’s 2009 fall training camp and was later named to the 2010-12 USA National Team, one of just two collegiate athletes on the roster at the time. Since then, has captured a pair of FIBA World Championship gold medals and two Olympic gold medals. Charles helped the USA post a 19-2 record in exhibition games from 2009-16. She averaged a tournament fifth-best 7.4 rpg. in the 2012 Olympics.
Charles was the USA’s third-leading scorer (10.7 ppg.) and second-best rebounder (4.8 rpg.) at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, while playing just 16.4 minutes a game. She was a member of the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games Team that posted a 7-0 record and earned the gold medal in Belgrade, Serbia as well as a member of the 2006 U18 National Team that went 4-0 to win the gold medal; set a USA U18 all-time record for rebounding (9.5 rpg.).
She was also a member of the 2005 Youth Development Festival Red Team that finished 3-2 and earned the bronze medal.
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-Aug. 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 Sept. 22, China on Sept. 23 and Latvia on Sept. 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 Sept. 26 quarterfinals play-in round. From there, winners will compete in the Sept. 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).