Atlanta Dream guard Brittney Sykes (7) drives against the defense of Washington Mystics guard Elena Delle Donne (11) during the first half of Game 2 of a WNBA semifinals basketball playoff Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Photo: John Amis/AP
Photo: John Amis/AP

Two Atlanta Dream players make FIBA AmeriCup roster

Two Dream players will compete for the USA Basketball women’s national team next week.

Guard Brittney Sykes and center Elizabeth Williams were two of 12 players to make the team’s roster for the 2019 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup in Puerto Rico from Sept. 22-29.

“I am tremendously excited to go to Puerto Rico,” Sykes said. “I called my mom and I cried a little bit because it means a lot to be back here, to be able to play for the country and have those three letters across my chest and represent something great.”

Sykes averaged 10.2 points per game this season and Williams contributed 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. Williams was one of 16 finalists for the World Cup team, but didn’t make the final roster. Sykes previously participated in two USA National Team camps. 

Sykes, Williams and fellow Dream players Tiffany Hayes and two-time Olympian Angel McCoughtry were all named in July to the 2019-20 national team pool, of which the final Olympic roster will be chosen. Hayes has been battling various injuries all season and is already with her overseas team in Spain, and McCoughtry is still recovering from a 2018 knee injury.

Elizabeth Williams returned to the Dream lineup after missing two games.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The United States’ first AmeriCup game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 22 against Paraguay. Each U.S. game will air on ESPN-Plus.

Ten countries will compete at AmeriCup, and the top eight will advance to the FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The U.S., which has won the past six Olympic gold medals, already qualified for the 2020 Olympics by winning the 2018 World Cup.

The pre-AmeriCup training camp began Monday in Miami featuring a pool of 21 players. Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles will headline the group of players heading to Puerto Rico, but the final roster also features three WNBA rookies, two WNBA sophomores, and a current University of Connecticut sophomore.

“It’s a good group,” national team head coach Dawn Staley said in a press release. “We’ve got a good, young group. We’ve got the spectrum. We’ve got the USA National Team first timers, we’ve got multi-time Olympians and then we’ve got some players who are very young, but who had great WNBA seasons.” 

Five players from the 2018 World Cup champion team are currently playing in the WNBA semifinals. Two players from that team missed the entire 2018 WNBA season, two missed most of it, and one was injured during her team’s final game of the season.

“So, I think it’s great for us to see where our USA National Team pool is overall,” Staley added. “So, I’m happy and excited to take the next step and go to Puerto Rico with this group.”

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