HARTFORD (2010 FIBA World Championship for Women) - Many of the players hoping to earn a berth in the USA squad for the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women are at a training camp being run by national team boss Geno Auriemma in Connecticut.
Auriemma only recently coached his University of Connecticut Huskies to a second straight undefeated campaign, capped by a win over Stanford in the NCAA title game.
Two members of that championship-winning side, Tina Charles and Maya Moore, are among several collegians at the USA Basketball camp.
Several of the veteran players that will make the trip to the Czech Republic cannot attend the camp as they are busy with their European clubs.
Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles of Spartak Moscow Region and both Candace Parker and Cappie Pondexter of UMMC Ekaterinburg all just played at the EuroLeague Women Final Four in Valencia, Spain, and have returned to Russia to compete in the Superleague Women play-offs.
Taurasi was voted MVP of the EuroLeague Women Final Four for the second straight year after leading Spartak to their fourth consecutive title.
Lindsay Whalen of ZVVZ USK Prague is in the USA squad for 2010-12 but is currently competing in the Czech top flight, while Kosice's dynamic duo Candice Dupree and Angel McCoughtry, have been able to travel to Connecticut for the camp which runs from April 11-18.
Whalen, McCoughtry, Dupree and Taurasi all recently played at the EuroLeague Women All-Star Game in Gdynia, Poland.
Another member of the USA Basketball squad, Alana Beard, has withdrawn from this week's camp due to injury.
The USA will compete in Group B at the FIBA World Championship for Women.
In Preliminary Round games in Ostrava, the Americans will take on France, Greece and Senegal.
New member of coaching staff
USA Basketball has also added Marynell Meadors, the head coach and general manager of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, to the coaching staff.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience,” said Meadors, the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year, on the USA Basketball website.
“I’ve worked with USA Basketball in the past, but not recently.
"To have an opportunity to be able to work with this staff and also the USA national team players is going to be incredible. I can’t wait to share in those opportunities."
Auriemma, meanwhile, is very excited about the make-up of his staff.
“I think we’ve put together a pretty good staff that’s pretty diverse in their experiences,” said Auriemma.
“Marynell just adds to that. She’s been involved at every level of basketball, from the NCAA to the WNBA, from the beginning of the WNBA to today.
"She’s certainly done an incredible job in Atlanta from taking that franchise from birth to play-offs.
“It’s important that we reward people who have put the time and effort in and who have been successful. I think her experience and all the things that she’s seen at both levels are going to be invaluable.
"Some of us are going into this looking for as much help and as much experience we can find from our staff and our players, and I just think she’s the perfect choice to be a part of our staff right now.”
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images