Five former UConn women’s basketball stars are set to represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.
Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and Tina Charles will all be returning from the 2012 Olympic Team with hopes for another gold medal. They will be joined by Breanna Stewart, who will be making her first Olympic Team appearance fresh off of her fourth-consecutive NCAA national championship.
The Huskies have had at least one player on every Olympic Team since 1996. The 2016 team marks the second time in a row UConn has had at least five players wearing the red, white and blue.
Bird and Taurasi were named tri-captains along with Tamika Catchings. The three will head to Rio for a chance for their fourth-straight gold medal.
Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Angel McCoughtry, Lindsay Whalen, Britney Griner and Elena Delle Done round out the 12-person team led by UConn head coach Geno Auriemma. Delle Donne, who was briefly enrolled at UConn before transferring to Delaware, is making her first Olympic appearance along with Stewart and Griner.
The team is without two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker, who led Team USA in rebounds and blocks in the 2012 Olympics in London. Parker’s omission likely paved the way for Stewart’s selection, allowing one of the best young players to gain experience and add to a young core that hopes to carry the program’s dominance.
With another star-studded team, Auriemma hopes to bring home his second-straight Olympic gold since taking over as the Team USA women’s basketball head coach in 2010. In his time as head coach, Auriemma is 23-0 and won FIBA World Championships in 2010 and 2014 in addition to his gold medal in London in 2012.
Team USA’s quest for a sixth-straight gold medal will begin as members of Group B, joined by Canada, Senegal, Serbia, and two teams that will earn berths through the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France in June. FIBA has yet to set the exact date for the beginning of Olympic play, but Team USA will begin group play against Senegal on either Aug. 6 or Aug. 7.