Collier, five former Huskies make latest cut for US National Team roster
UConn forward Napheesa Collier was one of 16 players to make the latest cut for the U.S. Women’s National Team, it was announced Tuesday.
Collier, a senior, is the only college player remaining on the team. She’s joined by five former Huskies on the roster, including Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Morgan Tuck.
The U.S. is scheduled to play in a four-team tournament in Antibes, France, from Saturday through next Monday against Canada, France and Senegal. That will be the two-time defending goal medalists’ final tune-up before the FIBA World Cup, which will be held from Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
Collier performed well off the bench in a 102-87 exhibition win over Japan on Monday in Washington, D.C., contributing seven points and four rebounds over 14 minutes. That came on the heels of a 74-68 victory over Canada last Saturday in Bridgeport, in which Collier finished with five points and seven rebounds over 23 minutes.
“It’s such an honor to play with these girls,” Collier said following the win over Canada. “I mean, this is the Rookie of the Year right here [A’ja Wilson], and we have so many good people on this team that I just feel blessed to be here.”
Also making the team were Layshia Clarendon, Elena Della Donne, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Mitchell, Tiffany Mitchell, Nneka Ogwumike, Kelsey Plum, Elizabeth Williams and Wilson.
Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu, the last remaining college player on the team besides Collier, did not make the cut. Neither did former UConn forward Stefanie Dolson, who was scoreless with nine rebounds over the last two games.
“We had a great group of pool players that gave themselves a chance to be a part of the 16, but unfortunately the committee has to get that number down,” head coach Dawn Staley said on the USA Basketball website. “The committee has to form a team that can compete at the highest level, and the unit that they selected should help us accomplish that. I’m just looking forward to leaving the country and playing some different competition, and continuing to create a bond and build the chemistry that is needed to win the World Cup.”
Griner and Taurasi did not play in the first two exhibition games but are expected to join the team in France. Bird, Della Donne, Loyd and Stewart are currently playing in the WNBA Finals and will likely join them at a later date.
The final 12-player roster will be announced prior to the start of the World Cup.