After winning the 2014 WNBA Championship on Friday night with the Phoenix Mercury, 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medalists Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, were added to the 2014 USA World Championship Team finalists roster on Thursday morning. Dupree arrived in Paris in time for the USA’s morning practice, while Taurasi will step onto the court with the USA this evening.
“Obviously you’ve got two players coming in that have a tremendous amount of confidence right now after the kind of season that they had and winning the WNBA Championship,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut). “You’ve got two of the best offensive players in the WNBA. Diana’s had so much international experience at World Championships and Olympics, Candice was with us in the 2010 World Championship and played great. So, I think we have a great group and our group just got a lot better.”
The 15 finalists for the 2014 USA World Championship Team, which will be pared to 12 by Sept. 26, also include: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx).
Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), the only other athlete who may be included among team finalists, is being evaluated by her physician and may join the team at a later date. Unable to compete for a spot on the 2014 USA World Championship Team due to injury are Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky) and Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky).
The 15 finalists for the 2014 USA World Championship Team will compete in the 2014 France International Tournament from Sept. 19-21 at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris. Opening against 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Australia on Sept. 19 (12 p.m. EDT), the U.S. will face 2013 FIBA Asia Championship bronze medalist China on Sept. 20 (10 a.m. EDT) and close the round-robin tournament against host France, silver medalist at the 2012 Olympics, on Sept. 21 (11 a.m. EDT).
From there, the Americans will head to Prague, Czech Republic, for an exhibition against Czech Republic on Sept. 23 (1 p.m. EDT) at Tipsport Arena, before traveling to Istanbul for their final pre-World Championship preparations.
The FIBA World Championship will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.
Auriemma is being assisted on the sideline by DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley; while University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti serves as an advance scout and court coach for the 2014 USA squad.
The USA owns a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Championship play, while compiling an all-time 97-21 record at the event. In 2010, the most recent World Championship, the U.S. finished with a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal.
The USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee is charged with the selection of the 2014 USA World Championship Team and is chaired by USA Basketball women’s national team director Carol Callan. Joining Callan on the selection committee are WNBA appointees Reneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations, Dan Hughes, San Antonio Silver Stars head coach and general manager, and Chris Sienko, Connecticut Sun vice president and general manager; and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist Katie Smith, who played in nearly 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008, and serves as the athlete representative.