Kent Youngblood writes about the Minnesota Lynx.

Four Lynx players in USA Basketball national team pool

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: January 13, 2014 - 12:46 PM

Lynx players Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus, Monica Wright and Maya Moore have been named to the 33-player USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool from which the 2014 World Championship team and the 2016 Olympic team will be chosen.

Whalen, Augustus and Moore were on the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. Olympic team in London.

The complete team, according to a USA Basketball release:

Three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); two-time Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks); 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx); and Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) and Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), who were members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), members of the 2010 USA World Championship Team that won gold, have been named to the pool.

Also named were DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (University of Connecticut), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Glory Johnson (Tulsa Shock), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (University of Notre Dame), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Odyssey Sims (Baylor University), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) and Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars).

Here is a transcript provided by the Lynx of their players’ reactions:

Seimone Augustus

You missed out on the 2010 FIBA World Championship due to injury. Even with two Olympic golds and two WNBA titles, you're missing that FIBA World Championship gold. What would it mean for you to be able to play in the 2014 FIBA World Championship to try and capture that title?

“To play in the 2014 FIBA World Championship would mean a lot. It would mean I've overcome every struggle and obstacle that was placed in my way. I've grown both mentality and physically as a player, and am now presented with another potential opportunity to represent my country and accomplish something that I've never accomplished in my basketball career.”

You've been playing for USA Basketball since 2003 -- and trying out for teams since 2001 -- what is it about playing for USA Basketball that keeps you coming back?

“I keep coming back because I'm determined to be one of the greats in women's basketball, and in order to do so you have to be a part of USA Basketball. It’s the pinnacle of women's basketball, It’s where you come to play with and against the best players in the world. There is nowhere else in the world you can find competition that drives you to be better every day. And the cherry on top is that we get to represent our country, with pride, dignity and class.”

Lindsay Whalen

You first played for USA Basketball in 2002 in Brazil. What is it about playing for your country that makes you want to keep coming back?

“Playing in Brazil in 2002 was my first experience with USA Basketball and it was an amazing opportunity and time to be able to make the team and travel all the way to Brazil. I had only been out of the country one time before so I am forever grateful for the chance I got to see a new part of the world.”

“It is always such an honor to be asked to come back and compete to make the final USA Basketball roster. When you think of the names that have been on the previous teams and the names that are currently in the running for the team you can’t help but get excited and want to be a part of that amazing tradition. What makes it even more fun is just how great the people are and the lifelong relationships and memories you build during your time with USA basketball.”

How hard do you think it'll be for the committee to pare down the list of players to just 12 for the 2014 World Championship Team?

“I think that the group of players in the running for the 2014 World Championship is really a great combination of people that will make the final team truly unique. You have a great blend of size, quickness, skill, shooting and physicality that will really make it hard for the committee to decide on 12 players to represent the country. As a player in the group, I am just honored to be mentioned with all of those talented players.”

Maya Moore

How difficult of a decision will it be for the committee to pare the list down to 12 for the eventual 2014 USA World Championship Team?

“The decision is a tough one for the committee, as a generation of younger players are starting to show some great talent and potential.  If I know USA Basketball, the players that make the 12-person roster will demonstrate the best character, competitiveness, talent, unselfishness, and understanding of the game.  I'm excited and honored to be in the pool once again.”

Monica Wright

What does it mean for you to be named to the 2014-16 USA National Team?

“It is such a great honor to be named to the 2014-16 USA National Team and to have an opportunity to earn a spot. It is always been a goal of mine to be a part of this team, but being able to play and compete with the best players in the world to see where I match up will be an experience I am really looking forward to in and of itself.”

How difficult will it be for the committee to pare the pool down to 12 for the 2014 World Championship?

“There are a wide variety of players on the roster with many different skills sets, but all world class talented athletes, so honestly it's going to be extremely difficult for the committee. I'm sure it is always.”

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