DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University four-time All-America Elizabeth Williams has been named one of 16 finalists for the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team, as announced Tuesday. The athletes were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which is chaired by USA Women’s National Team director Carol Callan.
Two-time defending World Cup gold medalists, the USA will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup, Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
Williams, a 2015 Duke graduate, is coming off helping lead her Dream squad to the WNBA semifinals, before falling in game five to the Washington Mystics on Tuesday. The 6-3 center averaged 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 assists in 2018. She ranked fourth in the WNBA in blocks per game and already ranked 28th in WNBA history with 224 swats in just three seasons.
“We had a great group of pool players that gave themselves a chance to be a part of the 16, but unfortunately the committee has to get that number down,” said USA and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. “The committee has to form a team that can compete at the highest level, and the unit that they selected should help us accomplish that. I’m just looking forward to leaving the country and playing some different competition, and continuing to create a bond and build the chemistry that is needed to win the World Cup.”
Other finalists selected were Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Jewell Lloyd (Seattle Storm), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Napheesa Collier (University of Connecticut), Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun) and A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
Prior to arriving in the Canary Islands, for the World Cup, the USA will play in a four-team, international tournament in Antibes, France, Sept. 15-17, against Canada, France and Senegal.
Williams is no stranger to wearing the red, white and blue as she has won gold medals with USA Basketball on three separate occasions. She won gold in 2009 with the U16 National Team, in 2010 with the U17 World Championship team and won gold at the 2011 U19 World Championship. Williams was also a part of the 2016 USA Select Team that competed against the U.S. National team prior to the Olympic games.
The final 12-member 2018 USA World Cup Team will be selected by the USA Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee prior to the start of the World Cup.