By David Gold

Geno Auriemma_on_sidelinesFebruary 20 - The United States, coached by Geno Auriemma (pictured), has named 21 potential female basketballers for London 2012 with nine Olympic gold medallists among the candidates as they seek to extend their incredible domination of the sport.

The US will be seeking to win a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in London having claimed victory in every Games since Atlanta in 1996.

Indeed, since the sport made its debut for women at Montreal in 1976, the US have won the gold medal six out of nine occasions, including at Sydney in 2000 when Auriemma was the assistant coach.

Auriemma (pictured), who is also the University of Connecticut head coach, said: "Now that we're down to 21 finalists, you look around and you see a group of players that have tremendous experience.

"[We have] players that have won [Olympic] gold medals, won World Championships, there are WNBA champions on the list, players that have won in Europe in international competition.

"You've got a group of players that have experienced everything there is to experience and as a coach, as someone who's been around these players, I couldn't be happier with this group."

Diana Taurasi_playing_in_Olympics
As well as double Olympic gold medal winners Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi (pictured), the 12 members of the 2010 World Championship winning team were all selected.

If Taurasi is selected when the final squad is announced it would cap a significant turnaround from 2010 when she tested positive for a banned substance.

The Turkish Doping Control Centre (TDCC) later revealed that they had a made a mistake when testing her and, having been sacked by Fenerbahce, Taurasi signed for their arch-rivals Galatasaray.

The TDCC subsequently had their accreditation suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The US will be hoping to win its fifth successive Olympic title this summer and are currently unbeaten in 33 matches at the games.

They will be competing against Angola, Australia, Brazil, China, Russia, hosts Great Britain and another five nations yet to qualify.

Full squad:

Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota Lynx), Swin Cash (Chicago Sky), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Baylor University), Lindsey Harding  (Atlanta Dream), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Renée Montgomery (Connecticut Sun), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Candace Parker(Los Angeles Sparks), Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx), Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars)

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