Baylor's Brittney Griner leaps in the air in front of her teammmates after the city of Waco honored the 2012 NCAA women's Division I basketball champions with a parade, Monday, April 16, 2012, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jerry Larson)
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7:11 pm
Griner won't play for US team at London Olympics
The Associated Press
The 6-foot-8 Griner, who was considered a candidate for the 12th and final roster spot on the national team, citied an unspecified family illness and her summer school schedule when she said Thursday she would not be able to play.
In a statement released by her school, Griner said she had informed USA women's team director Carol Callan of her decision.
"I am disappointed that I will be unable to participate," Griner said. "But I want to stay involved in USA Basketball and hope to again have the opportunity to represent my country in future international competition."
USA Basketball announced 11 of the 12 roster spots late last month.
Griner played on the 2011 European Tour with USA Basketball, and averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
The last college players to compete in the Olympics for the U.S. were Vicky Bullett (Maryland) and Bridgette Gordon (Tennessee) in 1988.
Griner, who will be a senior at Baylor next season, is a two-time All-American who was The Associated Press player of the year this past season when the undefeated Lady Bears won the national championship and became the first 40-win team in NCAA history.
In her three seasons at Baylor, Griner has averaged 21.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game with a Big 12-record 594 blocked shots. She is the first NCAA player with 2,000 career points and 500 blocked shots.
Griner dunked twice in the NCAA tournament, matching Candace Parker for most dunks by a woman in NCAA tournament play and during a college career (seven).
Leaving spots open is nothing new for the U.S. The Americans only announced nine players initially for the 2008 Games before filling out the roster nearly two months later. They also unveiled a core of players in 2000 and 2004 before filling out those teams later.
The Americans have until June 18 to select the final player for London.
The team is expected to be a gold medal favorite for coach Geno Auriemma.
Five former Connecticut Huskies - Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, Maya Moore and Tina Charles - are on the team. All five helped the U.S. qualify for the Olympics by playing on the 2010 world championship team that won the gold medal.
Joining the UConn contingent on the team is two-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings. Also returning for a second straight Olympics are Parker, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles. Lindsay Whalen and Angel McCoughtry will be competing in the Olympics for the first time and trying to help the U.S. win a fifth straight gold medal.
The Americans have won 33 straight Olympic games.