USA Basketball names 12-member women's roster for Paris

USA Basketball has unveiled a seasoned lineup for the forthcoming Paris Olympics, featuring a team in which every member possesses a gold medal from either the Olympics or the World Cup.

Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury has been selected for her sixth Olympic appearance, having played an impressive 38 basketball games in previous Olympics, making her the highest-scoring female player in the history of USA Basketball. With a total of 414 points, she is only surpassed by Lisa Leslie, who holds the record at 488 points.

The team comprises solely of players from the WNBA, including Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Kahleah Copper (Mercury), Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces), Brittney Griner (Mercury), Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Plum (Aces), Breanna Stewart (Liberty), Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun), A’ja Wilson (Aces), and Jackie Young (Aces). The head coach of the team is Cheryl Reeve, who previously served as an assistant coach in the last two Olympics under Geno Auriemma (2016) and Dawn Staley (2020).

“We were tasked with providing Cheryl a team that possesses expertise and familiarity in international competitions, a deep understanding of the coaching system, strong leadership skills, versatility, and depth in every position,” stated Jen Rizzotti, chair of the national team committee, in an interview with The Athletic. “After careful consideration, we chose the 12 players who we believed were the most suitable for basketball.”

Notably absent from the selected roster is Caitlin Clark, a standout player in college basketball who led Iowa to the Final Four in two consecutive seasons. Currently, she is embarking on her debut WNBA season with the Indiana Fever.

“Undoubtedly, Caitlin’s achievements during her time in college and her impressive performance in the early stages of the (WNBA) season were carefully considered when discussing the composition of the team. However, we made a conscious effort to maintain our integrity throughout the selection process,” explained Rizzotti in an interview with The Athletic. She emphasized that factors such as marketability, popularity, TV viewership, and jersey sales were not taken into account during the decision-making process.”

Clark spoke about the impending decision regarding the roster on Sunday. “I’m not disappointed,” Clark stated. “It just gives me something to strive for; it’s a goal. Hopefully, I’ll get there one day. “I see it as added motivation. It sticks with you. Hopefully, when four years roll around again, I’ll be there.” Taurasi, Collier, Gray, Griner, Loyd, Stewart, and Wilson all represented the 2020 Olympics team in Japan, finishing with a perfect 6-0 record and winning the gold medal. Wilson and Griner both averaged 16.5 points per game in Japan, while Stewart recorded an average of 10.0 rebounds per game. Plum and Young also secured a gold medal in Japan, albeit in the inaugural three-on-three tournament.

Staley was part of the committee responsible for selecting the roster, along with the WNBA’s Bethany Donaphin, Atlanta Dream general manager Dan Padover, LSU assistant coach Seimone Augustus, and Old Dominion head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones.

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The women’s team of the United States will commence their training camp in Phoenix and subsequently engage in an exhibition match against a team comprising WNBA all-stars on the 20th of July. Additionally, the team is scheduled to participate in an exhibition game against Germany on the 23rd of July in London.

On the 29th of July, Team USA will kick off their group stage matches at Paris, facing Japan. They will then compete against Belgium on the 1st of August and Germany on the 4th of August.

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