The U.S. women’s basketball team is heading to Tokyo with a goal of winning its seventh consecutive gold medal.
With the WNBA season paused for the 2021 Olympics, Team USA has loaded up with some of the country’s top talent. The women’s squad possesses a terrific blend of veterans (Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi) and youngsters (Ariel Atkins, A’ja Wilson), and it sure doesn’t hurt to have the reigning Finals MVP (Breanna Stewart) on the roster.
Can anyone challenge Team USA? Or will the Americans bring the gold home once again?
Here’s a look at the U.S. women’s basketball team’s roster ahead of the Olympic Games.
USA Olympic women’s basketball roster
|Ariel Atkins||Washington Mystics|
|Sue Bird||Seattle Storm|
|Tina Charles||Washington Mystics|
|Napheesa Collier||Minnesota Lynx|
|Skylar Diggins-Smith||Phoenix Mercury|
|Sylvia Fowles||Minnesota Lynx|
|Chelsea Gray||Las Vegas Aces|
|Brittney Griner||Phoenix Mercury|
|Jewell Loyd||Seattle Storm|
|Breanna Stewart||Seattle Storm|
|Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury|
|A’ja Wilson||Las Vegas Aces|
USA Olympic women’s basketball coaching staff
|Dawn Staley||University of South Carolina|
|Dan Hughes||Seattle Storm (retired in May)|
|Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx|
|Jennifer Rizzotti||Connecticut Sun|
Why isn’t Nneka Ogwumike on Team USA roster?
The Team USA roster selection process didn’t come without some controversy. Ogwumike surprisingly didn’t make the final cut despite her previous experience with the USA Basketball program and an impressive WNBA resume (six-time All-Star, 2016 WNBA MVP, 2016 WNBA champion, WNBPA president).
Team USA coach Dawn Staley seemed to indicate that a knee injury was a big reason why the Sparks star was left off the roster.
“It really breaks my heart that Nneka is not on this team,” Staley said last month. “I mean, if we had to make a decision a month from now . . . I’m sure she would be healthy.”
Sparks coach Derek Fisher “called BS” on that explanation, though, saying Ogwumike was on track to play in the 2021 Olympics.
“The timeline doesn’t add up for her being unavailable to play during the Olympics,” Fisher said. “We respect other players, happy for the ones that made it. But no way you can tell me you put a team together and leave Nneka off of it, and try to say it makes sense and adds up, because it doesn’t.”
Unfortunately for Ogwumike, she will also be unable to play for Nigeria. The 31-yaer-old has dual citizenship with the United States and Nigeria, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected her appeal because she played for Team USA too recently.
Team USA women’s basketball Tokyo Olympics schedule
The opening ceremony at the 2021 Olympics is July 23. The women’s basketball tournament tips off two days later on July 25 and ends with the medal games on Aug. 7.
Team USA is one of 12 teams to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. It will be playing in Group B. Its group-play opponents will be France, Japan and Nigeria.
|Date||Game||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|July 27||USA vs. Nigeria||12:40 a.m.||USA Network|
|July 30||USA vs. Japan||12:40 a.m.||USA Network|
|Aug. 2||USA vs. France||12:40 a.m.||USA Network|
|Aug. 3-4||Women’s basketball quarterfinals||TBD||TBD|
|Aug. 6||Women’s basketball semifinals||TBD||TBD|
|Aug. 7||Women’s basketball gold-medal game||10:30 p.m.||TBD|
|Aug. 7||Women’s basketball bronze-medal game||3 a.m.||TBD|