Country Day grad named alternate to national team


The honors and accolades keep rolling in for Candice Wiggins, and if the list wasn’t already long enough, the former La Jolla Country Day girls’ basketball star has been named as an alternate on the 2007-08 USA Women’s Senior National Team.

Wiggins, a senior at Stanford, was selected to try out for the team earlier this month and will be with the team this week (Sept. 26-30) in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship in Valdivia, Chile as it attempts to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The team opens play on Sept. 26 with a 1 p.m. (PST) game against Cuba.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play for the USA Senior Women’s Basketball team,” Wiggins said in a Stanford athletic department release. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine. The experience of training with Team USA and playing at the senior international level is something I am looking forward to.”

Wiggins did not respond to multiple interview requests placed through the Stanford athletic department. Wiggins and the U.S. team can qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games through this week’s event. Host China and 2006 FIBA World Championship gold medalist Australia have earned automatic berths to the 2008 Olympic women’s basketball tournament. Five additional teams will punch their ticket to Beijing at the 2007 FIBA zone championships, as the gold medalists in each of the FIBA zones (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania) qualify to compete in Beijing.

In addition to the USA, teams participating in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship will be Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico. The U.S. can qualify for the Olympics by winning this event or can go through the 2008 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next June.

Teams finishing in second, third and fourth place at the 2007 FIBA Americas will advance to the Olympic qualifier. Those three nations, along with nine other national teams from around the globe who did not claim gold at the remaining FIBA zones, will compete for the final five Olympic slots at the 2008 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Wiggins, the fourth college player listed on the 2007-08 USA roster, returned in 2007 to USA Basketball for the third time in four summers and pulled double duty while collecting gold medals with the USA Under-21 World Championship and USA Pan American Games teams. Wiggins also helped USA teams earn gold medals at the 2004 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship, the 2005 International Sports Invitational and the 2005 FIBA Under-19 World Championship.

A 2004 graduate of La Jolla Country Day, Wiggins earned nearly every possible accolade during her time with the Torreys, and has continued to impress at the Division I college level while at Stanford.

On the collegiate level, Wiggins has three times been named to both the Kodak/Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association All-America First Team and Associated Press All-America Second Team, and is a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year (2005 and 2006).

“I am very excited that Candice has been invited to the U.S. National Team Tryout,” Stanford women’s basketball coach and former gold medal winning USA Women’s Basketball coach Tara VanDerveer said in a statement. “She is extremely talented, competitive and coachable. I have complete confidence that she can make valuable contributions to the team.”