The United States will be heading to the Czech Republic later this year with one thing in mind.

They’ll be gunning for a world title.

As part of their preparations, USA coach Geno Auriemma and his national side will compete in the WNBA All-Star Game.

USA Basketball and the WNBA have announced the novel idea, with the game to take place on Saturday, July 10, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Connecticut is a hotbed for women’s basketball.

Many of the national team players, past and present, played for Auriemma at the University of Connecticut.

Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles, Cappie Pondexter and Tamika Catchings – players expected to represent the United States in the Czech Republic this year – all took part in last year’s All-Star Game when the competition pitted the Eastern Conference All-Stars against the Western Conference All-Stars.

For Auriemma and USA Basketball, every time that he can gather the squad is vital, especially as he will not have his full squad together in September due to the WNBA play-offs.

When asked about the ideal amount of time he would like to have with his squad to prepare it for the FIBA World Championship, Auriemma said: “Are we going to have our whole team for two weeks or 10 days before the World Championship? I don’t know, but we have the best players in the world on the USA team, so I don’t care if we have five days.

“We’re going to have enough time to win the whole thing. That’s the way I look at it.”

Last August, USA Basketball named eight players –Bird, Catchings, Taurasi, Seimone Augustus, Fowles, Kara Lawson, Candace Parker and Pondexter – who are a part of 2009-12 USA women’s national team.

In the Preliminary Round at the FIBA World Championship for Women, the United States will compete in Group B in Ostrava against France, Greece and Senegal.

The Americans will go into the tournament as the Olympic champions and will be looking to capture gold after settling for bronze at the big event in Brazil four years ago.


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