USA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TEAM HONORED AS THE 2018 USA BASKETBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR
Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd, and Dan Hughes among those recognized after winning the 2018 FIBA World Cup
SEATTLE – After a sweeping performance that ended with its third consecutive FIBA World Cup title, the USA Women’s World Cup team today was named the 2018 USA Basketball Team of the Year. The announcement was made one day after Breanna Stewart was honored as the 2018 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.
“The FIBA World Cup always is an incredibly intense and competitive event, and what the U.S. team accomplished was remarkable,” said USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley. “The roster was not finalized until just days before the competition, yet the USA played with great teamwork and was a joy to watch on and off the court.”
Coached by Dawn Staley, the roster featured three Seattle Storm players: tournament MVP Breanna Stewart, four-time FIBA World Cup gold medalist Sue Bird and first-time senior-level FIBA World Cup participant Jewell Loyd. Storm head coach Dan Hughes served as an assistant on Staley’s staff.
“We had a very good mix of young players in their first World Cup to experienced players,” said Staley, who was named the 2018 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. “To see the process work, which was scary at times in that we didn’t know who we would have and when we would have them, and then prepare together as a team, made it very special.”
In addition to the trio of Storm players, the FIBA World Cup roster also included Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun), A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces) and assistant coaches Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington University).
“They were super motivated to win every time we stepped on the floor,” added Staley. “For us to do that time and again is incredible, because the rest of the world is catching up to us, and they’re catching up when we have less time to prepare.”
Winning by an average margin of 20.3 points per game, the USA beat Australia in the final to capture the FIBA World Cup title and qualify for the 2020 Olympics Games.
“We came together because we had the ‘next person up mentality,’” Stewart said. “There were some people who were on the Olympic Team who didn’t come to the World Cup this year, so there were new opportunities for younger players who didn’t have as much experience playing for USA Basketball, but they stepped right up.”
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