Collier and seven former Huskies invited to USA National Team camp

September 1, 2018

Eight players with connections to UConn received invitations to the USA Basketball Women’s National Team’s upcoming training camp, it was announced Saturday.

Joining current senior Napheesa Collier are seven former Huskies, including Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Stefanie Dolson, Tiffany Hayes, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Morgan Tuck.

The team, which will be coached by South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, will train starting this week in Columbia, S.C., in preparation for the FIBA World Cup, which is scheduled for Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.

Altogether, 18 players are expected to join the team for the start of training camp: Charles, Collier, Layshia Clarendon, Diamond DeShields, Dolson, Allisha Gray, Tyasha Harris, Ruthy Hebard, Sabrina Ionescu, Kelsey Mitchell, Tiffany Mitchell, Arike Ogunbowale, Nneka Ogwumike, Kelsey Plum and Jessica Shepard, Odyssey Sims, Tuck and A’ja Wilson.

Bird, Hayes, Stewart and Taurasi are expected to join the team after their respective WNBA seasons end.

“I’m excited to get started next week,” Staley said on the USA Basketball website. “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 that.

“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 team will practice Monday and Tuesday, then will hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Wednesday at the University of South Carolina. They will wrap up the week with an exhibition game against Canada on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

Staley’s coaching staff includes former Husky star Jennifer Rizzotti. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma will serve as a special advisor.

The final 12-player roster will be announced prior to the start of the World Cup.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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