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

June 12, 2024 12:29 pm

[Source: Reuters]

USA Basketball announced a veteran roster for the upcoming Paris Olympics, boasting a squad where each member has at least an Olympics or World Cup gold medal.

The Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi was named to her sixth Olympics, with 38 Olympics basketball games to her credit, the most of any women’s player in USA Basketball history. She is second in Olympics points scored (414) behind Lisa Leslie (488).

The team, which consists entirely of players from the WNBA, also includes 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).

Article continues after advertisement

Cheryl Reeve is the head coach of the team, after serving as an assistant coach the past two Olympics under Geno Auriemma (2016) and Dawn Staley (2020).

“We were supposed to be giving Cheryl a team that has experience and familiarity with international competition, familiarity with the coaching system, leadership abilities, versatility, depth at every position,” national team committee chair Jen Rizzotti told The Athletic. “The 12 that we selected, we felt were the best when it boiled down to a basketball decision.”

Not included was collegiate star Caitlin Clark, who took Iowa to the Final Four in consecutive seasons and is in her rookie WNBA season with the Indiana Fever.

“Certainly, the success that Caitlin had in college in addition to the way that she’s played in the beginning parts of the (WNBA) season was taken into consideration as we talked about this roster, but I think out of respect for the process, we tried to make sure we upheld our integrity when it came to selecting the roster,” Rizzotti told The Athletic.

“Marketability, popularity, TV viewership, jersey sales was not something that we were supposed to be measuring.”

Clark addressed the pending roster decision Sunday.

“Honestly, no disappointment,” Clark said. “It just gives me something to work for; it’s a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there.

“I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

Taurasi, Collier, Gray, Griner, Loyd, Stewart and Wilson all were in the 2020 Olympics squad in Japan that went 6-0 while winning the gold medal.

Wilson and Griner each scored 16.5 points per game in Japan, while Stewart had 10.0 rebounds per game.

Plum and Young also won a gold medal at Japan, but that was in the inaugural three-on-three tournament.

Staley also was on the committee that selected the roster, in addition to the WNBA’s Bethany Donaphin, Atlanta Dream general manager Dan Padover of the Atlanta Dream, LSU assistant coach Seimone Augustus and Old Dominion head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones.

The USA women’s team will have training camp at Phoenix then play an exhibition game against a team of WNBA all-stars on July 20.

The squad also is set to play an exhibition game against Germany on July 23 at London.

Team USA opens Olympics group play at Paris against Japan on July 29 before facing Belgium on Aug. 1 and Germany on Aug. 4.