USA Basketball announce final women’s roster for Rio 2016

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 9: USA v Australia during their Basketball Game on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the North Greenwich Arena on August 9, 2012 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball have revealed the 12 women that will head to Rio in a bid for a sixth straight Olympic gold medal.

In the roster are nine returnees from the London 2012 Olympics, including three-time gold medal winners Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and recent Euroleague Women winner Diana Taurasi.

Also involved are two-time gold medalists Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles as well as Tina Charles, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen, who captured their first gold four years ago in London.

Making their Olympic debuts this summer are Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner, and University of Connecticut star, Breanna Stewart.

“Obviously it’s always incredibly difficult to try to identify 12 players from a group of so many great players,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma, who has led the USA to a so far unblemished overall 23-0 record, stretching back to the 2010 world championship for women triumph.

“The committee had a really difficult job this year, because it’s the first time in a long time that a lot more than 12 players could easily have been named to that team. But the 12 that were named are a great combination of Olympic gold-medal experience, multiple gold medal winners and great leaders.

“There is also an influx of young players, which not only is going to be a great benefit to us this year, but I think it will set the stage going forward in two years for the [FIBA] world championship and then in four years in Tokyo. They will be the future of the USA Basketball women’s national team.”

Strong favourites to regain the gold in Brazil, the USA will open their Olympic campaign against against Senegal on either August 6 or 7, followed by the number four ranked side team from the Olympic qualifier, Serbia, Canada and ending with the second ranked qualifier.