DURHAM, N.C. – Another round of cuts has gone by and Duke graduate Elizabeth Williams was tabbed one of 13 finalists for the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team, as announced Monday evening by the USA Basketball National Team Player Selection Committee.
USA narrowed the roster from 16 to 13 with the eventual 12-member team to be named over the next couple of days. The cuts came following a three-game tournament in Antibes, France.
Two-time defending World Cup gold medalists, the USA will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup, Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
Other finalists include Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Tina Charles (New York Liberty); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun) and A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
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.
The USA squad will travel from France to Tenerife, where it will be joined by 2018 WNBA champions Bird, Loyd and Stewart, as well as WNBA runner-up Delle Donne.
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.
The USA began training on Sept. 3 in Columbia, South Carolina, with 18 athletes, and Williams joined the team in New York after the Dream was eliminated from the playoffs. After an intrasquad game on Sept. 5 in Columbia, the team earned two exhibition victories over Canada (74-68) on Sept. 8 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Japan (102-87) on Sept. 10 in Washington, D.C. From there, the team captured a round-robin tournament title in France, earning victories over Canada (84-68) on Sept. 15, Senegal (109-58) on Sept. 16 and France (77-60) on Sept. 17.
Griner and Taurasi joined the USA squad in time for the French tournament.