US women's basketball team adds 4 post players to national pool

With a lack of depth in the post, the U.S. women's basketball team added Jayne Appel, Rebekkah Brunson, Ebony Hoffman and Kia Vaughn to its national pool Wednesday.

The only true healthy post players on the 24-person roster are Sylvia Fowles and Tina Charles as Candace Parker is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

"The biggest need we have is to find someone to play that center position and compete with the teams we're going to have to beat," U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. "We're just not big enough with Candace Parker out. It makes it more imperative that size is a tremendous issue for us."

The U.S. scrimmaged Australia as part of their training camp during the WNBA All-Star weekend. Fowles wasn't able to play because her WNBA team had a game that day and the U.S. was undersized against their rivals.

"I think Australia is one of the bigger teams in the world and they've added a real young player that is 6-foot-8 that makes them more formidable," Auriemma added. "I look at our group of players in the pool I see perimeter players that are experienced, talented, versatile. Our biggest issues since we started with this is do we have enough size and scoring in the post. Defensively we'll figure out a way to defend. At the international level you need to be able to score and not be a jump shooting team."

Appel was invited to the training camp last fall and this past spring, but was unable to compete in either one because of injuries.

"It's kind of more of a sigh of relief, after having gone to the camps when I wasn't able to play and having to watch on the sidelines," Appel said. "It makes it even more worthwhile. It also helped me want to be a part of it even more and makes me want to be able to contribute more into the future."

Brunson helped the U.S. earn a berth in the 2008 Olympics by competing at the FIBA Americas tournament in 2007. Hoffman and Vaughn haven't played at the national level for the U.S., but both earned gold medals while playing for younger American teams.

Both have played overseas and are used to the different style of play.

"The game overseas is not as fast, but it's a lot more physical than you see here," Hoffman said. "You really have to be prepared for the physicality of the game. And the different types of moves that they use over there, it's not as conventional as it is over here where you see some of the same moves all the time."

The U.S. will train in Washington D.C. from Sept. 4-7 before heading up to Hartford, Conn., to train for a few more days. The Americans will face Australia and Spain in exhibition games before heading overseas to continue preparation for the World Championships that begin on Sept. 23 in the Czech Republic.

Not all the players will be able to train for the entire camp with the WNBA playoffs going on at that point. With the WNBA finals potentially going until right before the start of the Worlds, the U.S. may not have its team together until they are in the Czech Republic.