Great hoop opportunity for Stanford's Wiggins
Stanford senior Candice Wiggins may have to miss a few women's basketball meetings this fall. Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer thinks that's just fine.
Wiggins, who needs to score 374 points this year to become Stanford's all-time scoring leader, has been named to the United States senior women's basketball team, one of five collegians on the squad.
Wiggins, a three-time All-American, played for both the Under-21 national team and the Pan American team, both of which won gold medals over the summer.
She's also been a part of Team USA in its gold medal performances at the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, 2005 International Sports Invitational and 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to play it has been a life-long dream of mine," Wiggins said on Friday. "The experience of training with Team USA and playing at the senior international level is something I am looking forward to."
VanDerveer, who served as Team USA's coach in 1996, leading the team to a gold medal in the Atlanta Olympics and recording a 60-0 record, couldn't be happier for her star player.
"I am very excited that Candice has been invited to the tryout," VanDerveer said. "She is extremely talented, competitive and coachable. I have complete confidence that she can make valuable contributions to the team."
Training began on Friday at John Jay College in New York. Team USA is preparing for the FIBA Americas Championship. During the USA's training camp, the U.S., defending Olympic gold medalists, will take on 2006 World Championship gold medalist Australia in a pair of exhibition contests.
Wiggins was joined by four WNBA players in making the national roster: Rebekkah Brunson (Sacramento Monarchs), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs), and Loree Moore (New York Liberty).
"The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee had kept the pool open and felt strongly about adding players to the pool," Committee chair Reneé Brown said. "The four WNBA players had terrific seasons and have played internationally, while Candice is one of the top collegiate players in the country. The Committee feels that each of them will make our pool stronger and our future decisions tougher."
Playing time may be hard to come by for some players, but that's a decision Team USA coach Anne Donovan is looking forward to making.
"These five players all add to the depth of our USA Basketball National Team pool," she said. "Since each has a unique skill to offer, the talent on our overall roster will give the committee solid options to continue to build our Senior National Team. I can't say enough about Candice's commitment to USA Basketball. She played six weeks this summer, including for Dawn (Staley) at the Pan Am Games, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what she can do in camp against the professional players. I think all five of them will fit into the team and style of play we're looking for."