COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Theresa Grentz, coach of the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team, starts the first round of tryouts for the 1992 national team with one advantage over her men's counterpart, Chuck Daly.
Unlike Daly, Grentz won't have to worry about doling out equal playing time to such NBA talents as Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson.
Grentz, the coach at Rutgers, doesn't know who will constitute the 12-player team that will go to Barcelona, Spain, in late July.
Grentz, who coached the United States to 1990 gold medals in the world championships and Goodwill Games, is faced with the pleasant task of weeding the 56 invitees to a more manageable number by Monday, before the final squad is chosen next month.
"There's a great challenge ahead of us," Grentz said before yesterday's first practice session at the Olympic Training Center. "I haven't penciled in anyone. I've left an open mind."
And that's a good thing, because Grentz and her three assistants have a remarkable amount of talent to pick and choose from.
Some of the most recognizable names in women's basketball in the past 20 years have convened here for a chance to win the United States' third consecutive Olympic gold medal.
For instance, there's Nancy Lieberman-Cline, a member of the 1976 Olympic team, and Cheryl Miller, who helped guide the 1984 team to gold in Los Angeles, and one-time Globetrotter Lynette Woodard, the captain of that 1984 team and a member of the 1980 squad.
"A few names on that list are a curiosity. I'll be interested to see how they fit in. They're great champions," said Grentz.
In addition, eight players from the 1988 team that won the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea, including former Maryland center Vicky Bullett, have returned to try out.
And there are three 1991 college players with local ties: Rosemary Kosiorek of West Virginia (Mercy High), and Maryland's Malissa Boles and Katrina Colleton.
Though Grentz said she has no pre-camp favorites, she also said that players with international experience come into the four-day session with an advantage.
"The international game is a player's game. You need players who are confident, poised and know what to expect," said Grentz. "Those women who do [play internationally] for a living certainly have an advantage over those who play in the NCAA."