USA Senior National Team (Women)
The United States Senior Women's National Team are the defending Olympic champions in women's basketball. The team is composed of some of the top American players in the WNBA and the women's college game. It team is selected by USA Basketball; for details on how the team is chosen, see selection section.
The team has won four Olympic gold medals and seven FIBA World Championships, and did not lose an international match between 1994 and 2006. With longtime leaders Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, and Teresa Edwards absent, however, they lost to Russia in the semifinal of the 2006 world championship, settling instead for the bronze.
- Olympic champions: 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008
- World champions: 1953, 1957, 1979, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002
U.S. Women's Olympic Team Selection Process
Women's basketball became a medal sport at the 1976 Olympics and the Olympic Women's Basketball Committee, chaired by Mildred Barnes, was responsible for selecting team members. Following five regional tryout camps, which were held in April, 34 players were invited to the Olympic Trials which were held in May at Central Missouri State University.
For the first time selection of the 1980 Olympic women's team was handled by the ABAUSA Games Committee, which was chaired by Claudia Dodson. Trials for the team were held in two stages in Colorado Springs, Colo. The first stage, held March 24-25, was an "open" Trials which featured 203 players primarily from the AIAW college ranks. The second stage was held March 26-28 and consisted of 18 invited players joined by seven players who had been selected from the "open" Trials.
In 1984, Lea Plarski chaired the 14-member ABAUSA Women's Games Committee, which consisted of nine NCAA, three NJCAA, one AAU and one NFSHSA representative. Trials were again held in two stages and 80 players, who were members or alternates of USA teams in the prior three years, participated in a preliminary Trials, and 10 players selected from the first trials joined 28 invited participants.
Selection of the 1988 women's team was again the responsibility of the ABAUSA Women's Games Committee. Chaired by Barbara Gill, and consisting of four NCAA, three NJCAA, three at-large, two AAU, and one athlete rep, and one representative from the NAIA, NFSHSA, and WBCA, 57 players were invited to the Trials which were held in Colorado Springs.
The 1992 Olympic Trials were held May 28-31 in Colorado Springs, and consisted of 56 players. The Olympic players were selected by a 17-member USA Basketball Women's Games Committee, that was chaired by Susan Blackwood and comprised of six NCAA, four at-large, two NJCAA, one athlete representative, and one rep from the AAU, NAIA, NFSHSA, and WBCA.
For 1996, USA Basketball went to a national team plan which saw trials held from May 18-25, 1995. Twenty-five invited players competed for national team roster spots and 11 players were selected for the historic team by the 13-member Women's Player Selection Committee. Chaired by Karen Stromme, the Committee was made up of five NCAA, three athlete representatives, and one representative from the AAU, NAIA, NFSHSA, NJCAA and WBCA. All 11 members of the National Team and one additional player (Venus Lacey), were named to the 1996 U.S. Olympic women's team on June 16, 1996.
Following the success of the 1995-96 USA Women's National Team, USA Basketball hired Nell Fortner to act as a full-time National Team Program head coach for the three years leading up to the 2000 Games. The three-year program enabled the Women's Senior National Team Committee to evaluate a pool of players in various national and international competitions. The Committee selected the first five members of the National Team core group in August 1998 and by September 1999, the National Team's roster was nearly complete with 10 athletes. On January 6, 2000, Kara Wolters was named to the squad, which was rounded out with the addition of Sheryl Swoopes on June 25, 2000. All 12 members of the National Team were named to the 2000 Olympic Team. Chaired by Stromme, the Committee was made up of five NCAA representatives, three athlete representatives, and two representatives from the WNBA.
The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee, chaired this time by the WNBA's Renee Brown, selected the 2004 Olympic Team. Seven players were initially identified in October 2003, and remainder of the roster was completed in the months leading up to the Olympics. Houston Comets head coach Van Chancellor, who had led the USA to gold at the 2002 FIBA World Championship for Women that was played in China, was named head coach of the U.S. squad. The Committee consisted of nine voting members and non-voting chair, and included six appointees from the WNBA, one from the NCAA and two athlete representatives.