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Sparks’ Chelsea Gray, Nneka Ogwumike to play for Team USA in exhibition games

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, left, and guard Chelsea Gray (12) celebrate after a win last season.
Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, left, and guard Chelsea Gray (12) celebrate after a win last season.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Sparks guard Chelsea Gray and forward Nneka Ogwumike will be part of the 12-member Team USA that will participate in training camp for the 2020 Summer Olympics as well as play in exhibition games this fall and next year against highly regarded college teams, USA Basketball announced Thursday.

Team USA will open the first series of games on Nov. 2 at Stanford and then play Oregon state on Nov. 4, Texas A&M on Nov. 7 and Oregon on Nov. 9. All four programs have been ranked in the top 10 the last few seasons. Ticket information is available at USAB.com/tickets.

“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,” Team USA coach Dawn Staley said in a release provided by USA Basketball. “Historically speaking, it has been great for our program to have a college tour.”

The American women have won six consecutive gold medals in basketball. USA Basketball said the second series of games next year will be announced at a later date.

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Other top WNBA players who will be involved in camp and exhibition games include Washington forward Elena Delle Donne, the reigning MVP of the league, Seattle guard Sue Bird, Dallas guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles, Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi and Las Vegas forward A’ja Wilson.

The roster for the exhibition games will include Minnesota forward Seimone Augustus, Connecticut guard Lashia Clarendon, Minnesota guard Napheesa Colliers and Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum.

Team USA will participate in a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament Nov. 10-18 in Argentina against the hosts, Brazil and Colombia. The top two teams will advance to the Olympic qualifying tournament Feb. 2-10 at a site to be determined.

The pre-Olympic qualifying team will include the eight WNBA stars plus Chicago guard Diamond DeShields, Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale, Plum and one additional player to be selected at a later date.

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The other group in pre-Olympic qualifying is host Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.


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