Candice Wiggins Named An Alternate To USA Basketball Women's FIBA Americas Championship Team
Sept. 20, 2007
Candice Wiggins was named as an alternate to the USA Basketball Women's FIBA Americas Championship Team, the USA Basketball Senior Women's National Team Committee announced Thursday. Wiggins, the lone alternate selected in addition to the 12 players making up the USA roster, will travel to South America and practice with the squad prior to the tournament, which will be held from Sept. 26-30 in Valdivia, Chile.
'I am very excited for this opportunity to be a part of the senior national team,' Wiggins said. 'It feels great to be traveling with the team and hopefully I can gain a lot of experience from this trip.'
The senior from San Diego made an impressive showing in her first action with the senior team over the past two weeks' worth of training and in a pair of exhibition wins over Australia this week. Wiggins scored 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and made four thefts in 21 minutes in the USA's 96-64 win over the Aussies on Sept. 16.
'This is a fabulous opportunity for Candice to be a part of the Olympic program. We're very excited for her, but we're ready to have her back!' said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.
The trip to South America will be Wiggins' second in the past two months. In July, she was a part of the U.S.' Pan American Games team that captured the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The 12 players named to the team were: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Rebekkah Brunson (Sacramento Monarchs), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock), Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Washington Mystics), Courtney Paris (University of Oklahoma), Candace Parker (University of Tennessee), Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury), Katie Smith (Detroit Shock), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets).
'This was a difficult decision to make,' said Committee chair Reneé Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations. 'We feel that we have a veteran core group of players who understand how to win the big games, and we're confident that we've selected a team that has the experience, confidence, skills and will to win.'
'I thought we had a great training camp that allowed us to build team chemistry,' said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. 'Like Reneé said, it was definitely not an easy decision to make. Every player hustled and contributed in her own way during our training camp. I'm looking forward to the addition of Katie (Smith), Cappie (Pondexter) and Diana (Taurasi) to this already strong group. They'll add a whole new dimension to our team and will help us to achieve our goal, which is to win gold in Chile and, more important, qualify for the Olympics.'
Seven of the the 12 players selected for the USA Team were member of last year's USA World Championship Team that garnered bronze. Augustus, Bird, Milton-Jones, Parker, Smith, Thompson and Taurasi were members of Donovan's 2006 USA World Championship squad. They also represent the USA's top five scorers at the worlds, and in fact are seven of the team's top eight scorers at the '06 World Championship.
The American roster of 12 also features six players who have Olympic gold medals. Bird, Cash, Smith, Taurasi and Thompson were members of the 2004 USA Olympic Team that captured gold, while Milton-Jones and Smith were also members of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team that claimed gold.
The USA Women's Senior National Team next heads to Chile Thursday, for its final preparations for the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship. Contested Sept. 26-30, the tournament's gold medal winner will earn one of 12 qualifying berths for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The USA opens against Cuba on Sept. 26, followed by Jamaica on Sept. 27 and closes preliminary round play against Canada on Sept. 28. The top two teams in preliminary Group A, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and Group B advance to the Sept. 29 medal semifinals. The gold medal, as well as the right to play in the 2008 Olympics, will be contested Sept. 30.
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