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Amna Subhan | | October 1, 2022

Breaking down the college careers of the 12 U.S. players in the women's FIBA World Cup

A'ja Wilson's top highlights from South Carolina's 2017 title run

Team USA won its fourth consecutive and 11th overall women's FIBA World Cup gold medal on Saturday, Oct. 1. The dominant run was led by the best women's basketball players who also had storied careers in the NCAA. 

We broke down the college careers of each of the 12 players who won gold. 

1. A’ja Wilson, South Carolina (2014-18) 

A'ja Wilson

Before she was a WNBA champion and two-time MVP, A’ja Wilson lit up boxscores at South Carolina. 

Wilson leads the program all-time in points, blocked shots and made free throws. She also led the program to its first-ever NCAA national championship in 2017. 

Wilson earned Naismith and Associated Press player of the year honors amongst many other awards. 

2. Breanna Stewart, UConn (2012-16) 

Breanna Stewart most recently won her second Olympic gold medal with Team USA alongside Wilson. 

Stewart earlier led a UConn squad that won four consecutive national championships with a 151-5 record in that span. 

During that run, Stewart earned three Naismith and AP player of the year awards, the only player in NCAA history to achieve that. She graduated as the all-time Huskies leader in blocks and second in scoring. 

🏅 2020 OLYMPICS: The college careers, stats and awards of the Tokyo Olympic roster

3. Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame (2012-15) 

Standout Irish guard Jewell Loyd also joins the roster as an Olympic gold medalist. At Notre Dame, Loyd scored at a high volume and will provide the USA with consistent perimeter shooting. 

In just three seasons in South Bend, Loyd ranked fifth all-time in scoring and first in 30-point performances with seven.

She led the Irish to three straight Final Fours and back-to-back national title games, but ran into UConn’s juggernaut four-peat squad. 

4. Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (2016-20) 

With WNBA legends like Sue Bird retiring from play, new talent will take the torch — namely Sabrina Ionescu. 

Ionescu shaped Ducks history but also shattered NCAA records. She became the first women’s or men’s player to post 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Ionescu also broke the NCAA all-time triple-double record with 26, more than doubling the previous record. 

In her third NCAA tournament, Ionescu and the Ducks danced all the way to the national semifinals in 2019, falling short to Baylor. Before COVID-19 canceled her final tournament, Ionescu help stomp on Stanford in the Pac-12 championship.

5. Shakira Austin, Maryland/Ole Miss (2018-22)

After her rookie campaign with the Washington Mystics, Shakira Austin will compete in her first FIBA event. 

Austin split her collegiate career between Maryland and Ole Miss. While at Maryland for just two seasons, Austin holds the single-season Terps' block record. After transferring to Ole Miss she eased into a new role, excelled offensively and was named All-SEC first team two years running. 

HISTORY: The 8 players who went No. 1 in the WNBA draft right after reaching the NCAA title game

6. Ariel Atkins, Texas (2014-18)

No stranger to USA Basketball after winning gold in Tokyo, Ariel Atkins will compete in her second FIBA event, the first at the U18 level in 2014 before beginning her freshman year at Texas. 

Atkins at Texas contributed to a talented Longhorns team that held a 77 percent winning percentage with a record of 108-32. In her four years, she help lead Texas deep into the NCAA tournament making the Sweet 16 three times and the Elite Eight once. 

7. Chelsea Gray, Duke (2010-14) 

Hot off winning WNBA Finals MVP and a second championship, Chelsea Gray sets her sights on a second gold medal after the 2020 Olympics. 

At Duke, Gray broke assists records, including for single-season with 201 and a school record 5.0 per game. Overall, she is fifth all-time at Duke in assists. She also become the first in program history to post multiple triple-doubles. 

Gray’s spectacular court vision and leadership was a catalyst to a 120-19 record at Duke.

8. Alyssa Thomas, Maryland (2010-14)

Alyssa Thomas is one of three former Maryland players on the USA team. She is coming off a WNBA Finals run with the Connecticut Sun, and will play alongside Aces players that came out on top. 

Thomas returns to Team USA after competing in preliminary events earlier in her career including 2013 USA National Team minicamp as one of six student-athletes. 

As a Terp, Thomas earned ACC Player of the Year for three consecutive years and Associated Press All-America first team in 2012 and 2014. 

📺 WATCH: NCAA tournament highlights from WNBA Finals MVP Chelsea Gray

9. Betnijah Laney, Rutgers (2011-15) 

After getting drafted in 2017, Betnijah Laney bounced around a few teams before finding home with the New York Liberty. Now, she's a WNBA All-Star and with the USA after four solid years at Rutgers. 

At Rutgers, Laney averaged 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds in her senior season — high above her collegiate career numbers of 10.9 and 7.1. 

10. Brionna Jones, Maryland (2013-17) 

Brionna Jones

After winning gold in the FIBA AmeriCup last year, former Maryland star Brionna Jones will compete for the World Cup. 

While at Maryland, she led the nation in field goal percentage for two years straight, 66.5 percent as a junior and 69 percent as senior. Jones contributed to a Terps squad that went to back-to-back NCAA national semifinals. 

11. Kelsey Plum, Washington (2016-17) 

The third Las Vegas Aces freshly crowned champion to join the roster is Washington legend Kelsey Plum. 

Plum famously broke the all-time DI NCAA scoring record with 3,527 points as well as the all-time season record 1,109 in her senior season. As a junior, she led the Huskies to their first Final Four in program history. 

Plum recently won gold competing in 3x3 in the 2020 Olympics. 

12. Kahleah Copper, Rutgers (2013-16)

Kahleah Copper is another Rutgers standout on the World Cup roster. Copper will compete in her first USA Basketball competition. 

Copper averaged 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds as a Scarlet Knight. Copper can catch fire offensively, like when she scored her career-high 31 in her final season. She also brings a fiery intensity that the USA misses without players like Diana Taurasi. 

Ariel Atkins 1,497 524 9-4 0
Shakira Austin 1,657 1,076 1-2 0
Kahleah Copper 1,414 552 1-1 0
Chelsea Gray 1,155 448 10-3 0
Sabrina Ionescu 2,562 1,041 11-3 0
Brionna Jones 1,928 1,209 9-4 0
Betnijah Laney 1,056 681 1-3 0
Jewell Loyd 1,885 620 14-3 0
Kelsey Plum 3,527 596 6-3 0
Breanna Stewart 2,664 1,166 24-0 4
Alyssa Thomas 2,064 1,085 10-4 0
A'ja Wilson 2,389 2,389 15-3 1

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