(East Los Angeles, CA) July 13, 2021 From The Editor’s Desk]: Team selections for the six-time defending Olympic gold medalists USA were made by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
Photo Credit: USA Basketball
Headlining the team are longtime USA National Team members #12 Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and #6 Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), who each donned a USA Basketball jersey for the first time in 2000 and own a combined (8) Olympic and (7) FIBA World Cup Gold Medals, and 3 x Olympic gold medalist #13 Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), who also captured gold at the 2010 FIBA World Cup.
Photo Credit: fiba.basketball
Two athletes who are pursuing their first Olympic gold medal and who already own a FIBA World Cup gold medal are #4 Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm) and #9 A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces). Stepping onto the world stage for the first time at a FIBA senior-level five-on-five competition will be #7 Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics), #11 Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), #5 Skylar Diggins-Smith (Phoenix Mercury) and #8 Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces). Rounding out the squad are big-time WNBA veterans and Olympic team repeaters, #10 Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), #15 Brittney Griner (PhoenixMercury), and #14 Tina Charles (Washington Mystics).
(Archived Photo From 6/2016)
Without distracting too much from the team’s upcoming preparation in Las Vegas this week, there is one highly notable player that will be missing from the team. That would be the Los Angeles Sparks Forward and & WNBA MVP, Nneka Ogwumike. Although she has been on the teams’ injured list for awhile now, due to a left knee injury, many of her fans and supporters were hopeful that a more direct reason could have been offered for her exclusion by the Selection Committee.
Head Coach, Dawn Staley (South Carolina), who claimed three gold medals as an athlete and helped guide two more Olympic teams to gold as an assistant coach, had this comment. “I’m honored to be the coach of such an amazing collection of talented women, both those named to the team and those who gave their all the last few years but won’t be with us in Tokyo. The fact that some of the players who won’t suit up this summer would start for any other country is a testament to their talent and to what USA Basketball has done to build a program that lifts up our female athletes every single day. I’m so proud to be the coach of Team USA and like all of the coaches, support staff, and our players, I can’t wait to make America proud this summer.”
Coach Staley will be joined by her very skilled and seasoned Assistant Coaches Dan Hughes, Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (Connecticut Sun President).
(What’s Next?): Once all rostered Olympic Team players have left their respective WNBA teams for the Olympic break, they will head to Las Vegas and compete against Australia at 11:30 AM on Friday, July 16th, and then on Sunday, at 2:30 PM, July 18th, against Nigeria. Both games will be played at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV. To follow the Team on USA basketball’s website, during their preparation in Las Vegas and then on to the Olympics Games, please click here.
(About USA Basketball): USA Basketball is a Non-profit organization and the national governing body for Men’s and Women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic and ParaOlympic Committee (USOPC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA National Teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored 5-on-5, 3 x 3, and E-Sport international competitions, as well as for some national competitions and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coaches education and licensing and safety.