By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ The U.S. women’s basketball team will play Canada in an exhibition game Sept. 15 before the world championship in Turkey.
The Americans, led by coach Geno Auriemma, will train for a few days in Maryland before heading up to Connecticut to play the game in Bridgeport. The U.S. is the five-time defending Olympic champion as well as the winner of the last world championship in the Czech Republic in 2010.
“I can’t wait to get this team together in the fall and I am thrilled to be able to finish our training in the United States right here in Bridgeport,” said Auriemma. “I know the fans will enjoy this opportunity to see the USA Basketball women’s national team.”
The world championship will be played in Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5. The U.S. will face China, Serbia and Angola in the preliminary round.
There’s a good chance that a few former UConn Huskies players will be on the team led by Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Maya Moore and Tina Charles. The U.S. currently has a pool of 33 players to choose from, including five UConn alums and current Huskies Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart. The team doesn’t have to be announced until right before the beginning of the tournament.
“I know our players are going to love playing here,” Auriemma said. “As far as who those players are going to be we have no idea right now. Unfortunately for me the WNBA playoffs will be still going on at that time. Those players whose teams are playing in the playoffs won’t be with us.”
Unlike most other countries in the tournament, the U.S. has limited training time as a group because of overseas commitments and the WNBA season. The two weeks in September to train will be the only chance that Auriemma will have to work with his team. Not all the players will even be at the camp as the WNBA playoffs will be in full swing.
“That’s one of the problems of coaching USA basketball, you just don’t have time to practice,” Auriemma said. “All of our players that are going to be on the team for the most part are playing with their own teams. We were going to have a training camp in the spring and just couldn’t pull it all together.”
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