Chelsea Gray, national team prepare for next month's college tour

US women's basketball team makes early Tokyo tuneup tour

US women’s basketball team makes early Tokyo tuneup tour AFP9 Oct 2019

Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women's college basketball, and other college sports for espnW.

Some of the top players in the world will be on display at Gill Coliseum Nov. 4, when Team USA faces the Oregon State women's basketball team in an exhibition matchup.

"I have to thank all of the parties involved, the NCAA, USA Basketball, all of the people who worked behind the scenes to get a waiver for us to be able to play a college tour once again", said USA National Team head coach Dawn Staley. The contest will be part of an exhibition tour for the Stars and Stripes, that pits Team USA against some of the top national powers in college basketball.

The U.S. women's basketball team is preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Games, where the Americans are seeking their seventh consecutive Olympic gold.

South Carolina's Dawn Staley is the United States of America head coach, but she will be busy with the Gamecocks during the November tour.

"It's prep time. The more time we have, the better we will perform in Tokyo".

The Minnesota Lynx' Cheryl Reeve and the Seattle Storm's Dan Hughes, who are also Staley's U.S. assistants, will serve as co-head coaches for the November games. "Instincts take over. We just want to win the games", Staley told The Associated Press last month. The exhibition games will be the first of five training periods leading up to the Olympics.

Oregon State also plays exhibition games against Union on October 27 and Concordia on November 1 prior to the Beavers' season opener on November 9 against Cal Irvine in the WNIT. Those eight are Seattle's Sue Bird, Washington's Elena Delle Donne, Dallas' Skylar Diggins-Smith, Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles, Los Angeles' Chelsea Gray and Nneka Ogwumike, Phoenix's Diana Taurasi and Las Vegas' A'ja Wilson.

Because of the cooperation by the NCAA and its member schools, the USA National Team has been afforded the opportunity to compete in these two series of exhibition games against some of the nation's premier NCAA Division I programs. The roster for the matchup with Oregon State will be rounded out by USA National Team members Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun) and Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx).

Gray will miss the game at Stanford, and Plum will miss the first two games due to previous personal commitments.

The tours are a bridge between the Americans capturing their third straight world title past year in Spain and trying to match the U.S. men's basketball squad's 1936-1968 run for the longest team gold streak in Olympic history. The only loss came in 1999-2000 against Tennessee, with the USA winning the other 39 games.

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