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UConn’s Collier among latest cuts by U.S. team

September 18, 2018

The U.S. Women’s National Team has pared its roster down to 13 players in anticipation of the FIBA World Cup later this month.

Among the players cut Monday was UConn forward Napheesa Collier.

Collier, the team’s last remaining college player, pulled down six rebounds over 16 minutes in a 77-60 exhibition win against host France earlier in the day.

Five former UConn players made the latest cut: Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Morgan Tuck. The rest of the roster includes Tuck’s Connecticut Sun teammate Layshia Clarendon, Elena Della Donne, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, Nneka Ogwumike, Kelsey Plum, Elizabeth Williams and A’ja Wilson.

Collier, a 6-foot-1 forward, made a compelling case to stick around, establishing herself as a valuable contributor off the bench throughout the exhibition slate. She turned in perhaps her best performance of the summer in Sunday’s 109-58 victory over Senegal, recording seven points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals over 23 minutes.

Ultimately, though, the team leaned toward experience in its latest cuts.

“It’s a really hard process because we’ve got great players and great people,” head coach Dawn Staley said on the US website. “So, they don’t eliminate themselves because of that. What it’s coming down to is, what is our most pressing need? And it changes from day to day, especially because we don’t have our entire team together yet.

“We’ll get a bird’s eye view of what that team looks like in the next few days, and I would say within 48 hours we should know, and we should have our roster locked in.”

The roster must be trimmed to 12 players for the World Cup, which will be played from Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.

Collier, who averaged 16.1 points per game for the Huskies in 2017-18, will now turn her attention to her senior season in Storrs. The Huskies are scheduled to open the year Nov. 11 against Ohio State at home.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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