With five newcomers on this year’s national team, USA Women’s Basketball Head Coach Geno Auriemma had to orientate a new bunch of young Olympians in Friday’s Training Camp in Seattle.
“In three days I think we’ve accomplished a little bit,” Auriemma said. “We’ve learned a little bit too. We got our philosophy out there.”
The team had its first scrimmage on Saturday. Auriemma expects the intensity to pick up as the days draw closer to preliminary competition.
Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore will be competing in her first Olympic Games in London. She joins six other former University Of Connecticut Huskies.
Moore, the youngest player on the roster, says being on the National Team is “a dream come true.”
“I think if you look at the roster top to bottom, it’s unmatched,” Moore said. “It’s all the players I grew up with: Taurasi, Catchings, Sue Bird … players like that. It’s really a dream come true.”
As an Olympic newbie, Moore has stepped back and watched the veterans guide the team, learning the ways of top world competitors.
“I try to take it all in. I’ve got some great players to learn from,” Moore said. “And when my number is called and Coach Auriemma puts me in, I want to make sure I’m bringing energy and doing all the little things necessary to win games.”
Where’s Britney Griner?
Baylor basketball star Britney Griner has been all over the national headlines. She dominated opponents with her tremendous size and athleticism. Her college basketball career concluded with a national championship win with the Baylor Bears. But the nation’s leading rebounder and shot blocker is nowhere to be found on the 2012 Olympic roster. Auriemma said it was Griner’s decision not to be a finalist.
“She was part of the group we were going from, but she took herself out of the pool and asked not to remain eligible to be selected for the Olympic team,” Auriemma said. “It’s unfortunate for Britney, but at the same time this team is an incredible team that not enough people know about or pay attention to.”
Had Griner not taken herself out of consideration, Auriemma says her chances were “pretty good.”
Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.