UConn's Nelson-Ododa, Williams to train with US Women's National Team

Published on Monday, 16 September 2019 14:42
Written by CARL ADAMEC


Olivia Nelson-Ododa had plenty to celebrate on over the weekend.

Her sister-in-law, Las Vegas Aces’ forward Derica Hamby, was named the WNBA’s Sixth Man Award winner and then made a steal and game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Aces past the Chicago Sky and into the playoff semifinals.

That followed the announcement by USA Basketball that UConn’s sophomore center would take part in this week’s United States national team training camp in Miami.

UConn teammate and classmate Christyn Williams will also take part in the camp to be held at the University of Miami Tuesday through Thursday ahead of the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup, which will be held Sept. 22-29 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Former Huskies expected at the camp from the WNBA include Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), and Stefanie Dolson and Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky). Bird, who had knee surgery in May, is not cleared to play but will participate in meetings and some on-court preparations.

“I’m just happy that we’ll get some players who have some experience and we’ll also get some players who haven’t had a whole lot of USA Basketball experience at the national team level,” Team USA coach Dawn Staley said in a statement. “So, meshing that spectrum of players is going to be the key to our success at the AmeriCup.”

Other WNBA players expected at camp are Jordin Canada and Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Skylar Diggins-Smith and Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings), Brittney Sykes and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota), and Diamond DeShields (Chicago).

The UConn duo will be joined by fellow collegiate players Kaila Charles (Maryland), Mykea Gray (Miami), Ruthy Hebard (Oregon) and Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA), as well as Khadijah Sessions (Kouvot, Finland).

The camp participants will practice for approximately two hours a day at Miami’s Watsco Center practice gym before traveling to Puerto Rico. Ten nations will take part in the AmeriCup, with the top eight finishing teams advancing to a Nov. 10-18 FIBA Americas pre-Olympic qualifying event.

The Americans open against Paraguay on Sunday, then will play Colombia on Sept. 24, Argentina Sept. 25 and closes preliminary play against Brazil on Sept. 26. The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals on Sept. 28, with the gold and bronze medal games the next day.

Team USA has already qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, by virtue of winning the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup.

Christyn Williams was the 2019 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in helping UConn reach its 12th consecutive NCAA Final Four. Nelson-Ododa averaged 4.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocked shots (fifth in the AAC) as a freshman.

In July the two teamed with Oregon seniors Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu to win the gold medal at the Pan American Games 3x3 competition in Lima, Peru.

Posted in Newington Town Crier, UConn on Monday, 16 September 2019 14:42. Updated: Monday, 16 September 2019 14:45.