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Liberty's Ionescu, Laney Rep USA's World Cup Roster

Ionescu and Laney recently wrapped an abbreviated second season of collaboration with the New York Liberty.

Those expecting to see New York Liberty stars Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney collaborate at the height of their basketball powers are appearing to get their wish before 2022 lets out.

The metropolitan pair was part of the 12-woman roster released by USA Basketball on Monday as the program prepares to embark upon another FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup title run. Team USA has prevailed in each of the last three quadrennial tournaments, with this year's edition set to be staged in Sydney, Australia. 

Ionescu and Laney have been the faces of the Liberty's resurgence, serving as the team's most recent All-Stars in each of the past two seasons. Fans at Barclays Center have sometimes been denied seeing the pair in action thanks to injuries on both sides, but the two are now poised to bring their work to an international level. While Laney missed a majority of the 2022 season with an ankle injury, she returned in time to help the Liberty seal its second consecutive playoff berth. Ionescu picked up the slack in Laney's absence, earning Second Team All-WNBA honors after reaching new statistical heights in her second full season in seafoam. 

Each player has championship experience with Team USA, having previously guided the U.S. to gold at the Under-17 Women's Basketball World Cup. Laney did so in 2010 while Ionescu duplicated the feat four years later. 

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Ionescu and Laney will run into some familiar faces throughout the tournament, as the Liberty have been well represented internationally in recent seasons. Bec Allen and Sami Whitcomb, for example, will rep host nation Australia, which will also be coached by current Liberty boss Sandy Brondello. Han Xu will also appear for China while 2022 third-round pick Marine Fauthoux dresses for France (fellow French star Marine Johannés has been scratched with a late injury). 

The Liberty is one of five teams to boast multiple American representatives, joined by Connecticut (Brionna Jones, Alyssa Thomas), Seattle (Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart), Washington (Ariel Atkins, Shakira Austin), and newly crowned WNBA champion Las Vegas (Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, A'ja Wilson). Kahleah Copper of the Chicago Sky, Laney's former Rutgers teammate, rounds out the roster, which will play its first World Cup game on Thursday against Belgium (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+). 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

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