Jones is 12th member of US women’s basketball team
Asjha Jones was added to the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball
team Monday, making half the roster former UConn Huskies.
Jones joins Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, Maya Moore and
Tina Charles, who were among the 11 players originally announced at
the Final Four in Denver. All six helped the U.S. qualify for the
Olympics by playing on the 2010 world championship team that won
the gold medal.
”I would like to think that regardless of who the coach was,
there’s a pretty good chance that every one of those players would
be on this team. They earned it,” said U.S. coach Geno Auriemma,
who has won seven national titles at Connecticut. ”All the
accolades that these players have gotten, they didn’t get those
accolades because they played at UConn. They got those accolades
because of what they’ve done in their pro careers, since they left
Connecticut. That speaks to their talent and their level of being
able to win at every level they’ve been at. They didn’t make the
team because I’m the coach. They made the team because they deserve
to be on the team.”
While most expected Baylor standout Brittney Griner to be the
12th member of the team, she took herself out of the mix,
announcing Thursday she will not play, citing an unspecified family
illness and her summer school schedule.
Joining the UConn contingent on the team is two-time Olympic
gold medalist Tamika Catchings. Also returning for a second
straight Olympics are Candace Parker, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia
Fowles. Lindsay Whalen and Angel McCoughtry will be competing in
the Olympics for the first time and trying to help the U.S. win a
fifth straight gold medal.
Jones, who will be playing in her first Olympics, had a stellar
season overseas, earning Euroleague Final Eight MVP honors.
”It was kind of like disbelief and shock,” Jones said. ”I
kind of put the Olympics out of my head because I didn’t think I
was going to be on the team. First I was surprised that Carol
(Callan, the team director) was even calling me. Then when I
answered and she told me the news, I was very surprised, very
shocked. I was really, really honored to be picked up.”
The U.S. team will train from May 11-13 in Seattle, playing an
exhibition game against China and scrimmaging Japan. The Americans
then won’t get together again until July 14, when the WNBA takes a
monthlong break from its season for the Olympics.
The team will spend three days in Washington D.C., in July
before heading to Manchester, England. The U.S. will then play in a
tournament in Istanbul before returning to London at the start of
The Olympics begin on July 27 and the team is a huge favorite to
win the gold. The Americans have won 33 straight Olympic