The pursuit of a sixth consecutive gold medal for the United States women's basketball team will be in familiar hands come August at the Rio Olympics. On Monday, the list of the 25 finalists for the 12-member squad was released by USA Basketball.
There were no surprises; the group has both longtime veterans of international play and the top college senior in the country, UConn's Breanna Stewart. Ten players in the finalist pool have previously won Olympic gold, including three-time Olympic champions Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings and Sue Bird.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma is in his second Olympic cycle, having led the U.S. squad to gold medals in both the 2010 and 2014 world championship and the 2012 Olympics.
"When I look at this list of athletes, we could split them down the middle and have two very competitive teams," Auriemma said in a statement Monday. "We have a great mix of gold medalists and players who are hungry to play in their first Olympics. There is versatility at all positions."
A training camp will be held Feb. 21-23 in Storrs, Connecticut. A list of which athletes will participate will be released later, but it will come from the pool of 25. It is expected to be the final camp before the Olympic team is selected.
At guard, veterans such as Taurasi, Bird, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen will compete with a slew of newcomers for spots on the roster. Skylar Diggins, Odyssey Sims, Briann January, Courtney Vandersloot, Danielle Robinson, Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd all are looking to make their first Olympic team.
"There is a concerted effort to get as many guards into this training camp as possible," Auriemma said. "Because we can't just think about now. We also have to think about the future."
Elena Delle Donne, the 6-foot-5 guard/forward who led the WNBA in scoring last season and was named MVP, will also be looking to complete in the Olympics for the first time.
The 25 finalists -- along with their WNBA or college team -- are G Seimone Augustus (Lynx), G Sue Bird (Storm), F Tamika Catchings (Fever), C Tina Charles (Liberty), G/F Elena Delle Donne (Sky), G Skylar Diggins (Wings), C Stefanie Dolson (Mystics), F Candice Dupree (Mercury), C Sylvia Fowles (Lynx), C Brittney Griner (Mercury), G Briann January (Fever), C Jantel Lavender (Sparks), G Jewell Loyd (Storm), G Kayla McBride (Stars), G/F Angel McCoughtry (Dream), F Maya Moore (Lynx), F Chiney Ogwumike (Sun), F Nneka Ogwumike (Sparks), F/C Candace Parker (Sparks), G Danielle Robinson (Stars), G Odyssey Sims (Wings), F/C Breanna Stewart (UConn), G Diana Taurasi (Mercury), G Courtney Vandersloot (Sky) and G Lindsay Whalen (Lynx).