Griner won’t play in London Olympics

WACO, Texas — Baylor star Brittney Griner said Thursday that she will not play for the U.S. women’s basketball team at the London Olympics this summer.

The 6-foot-8 Griner had been seen as a candidate for the 12th and final roster spot on the U.S. national team.

“Because of a family illness and my school schedule during the summer, I have told USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director, Carol Callan, that I will be unable to participate this summer,” Griner said in a statement released by the school. “”I am disappointed that I will be unable to participate, 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.

The last college players to compete in the Olympics for the U.S. were Vicky Bullett (Maryland) and Bridgette Gordon (Tennessee) in 1988.

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 UConn Huskies — Seattle Storm star 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 Candace 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.

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