Prince won't play for Russia in upcoming Euros
Chicago Sky guard Epiphanny Prince will not play with the Russian national team in the upcoming European Championship at the end of the month.
The Russian Federation informed Prince this week that she will not be used in the tournament. Prince plays professionally in Russia during the winter and has citizenship in the country. She still could compete for Russia next year in the London Olympics if the team qualifies.
"Though I was not selected to participate in Eurobasket this summer, if called upon, I remain committed to fulfilling my obligations to the Russian national team," Prince told The Associated Press.
Prince wouldn't have been the first American-born player to play for Russia. Becky Hammon helped Russia to a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics before a disappointing loss in the quarterfinals of the World Championship last fall.
The European Championship runs from June 18 to July 3 in Poland with a bid in next year's Olympics awarded to the winner. Had Prince been chosen to play, she would have missed six Sky games.
"I want to thank the Chicago Sky for their flexibility and understanding," Prince said. "I look forward now to making the most of a full season with the Sky."
The 23-year-old averaged 9.8 points for Chicago last year as a rookie and is expected to play a bigger role this season.
"We have been supportive of Piph fulfilling her commitment to the Russian team from the start and really, it was always a questions of `when' she would go, not `if,"' Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. "Frankly, I'm surprised that the team decided not to use her, but their choice clearly helps us a great deal. We're thrilled to have her for the entire WNBA season."
Chatman coached Prince's team in Russia this past winter.
The Sky will be without guard Shameka Christon for at least the first eight weeks of the season after injuring a knee in training camp. Christon was limited to 10 games last year due to a broken orbital bone.