Basketball

Chasing Seventh Heaven

Team USA
FILE – United States’ Sue Bird, right, is defended during the first half of a women’s exhibition basketball game against Canada in Bridgeport, Conn., in this Friday, July 29, 2016, file photo. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will try and become the first five-time Olympic gold medalists in basketball as they lead the U.S women’s team at the Tokyo Games. The duo was selected for their fifth Olympics on Monday, June 21, 2021, joining Teresa Edwards as the only basketball players in U.S. history to play in five.(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, FIle)

The official women’s basketball Olympic roster has finally been revealed. The US will look to capture the gold for the seventh straight time. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley will serve as the head coach. Staley is former WNBA player and Olympian.

Her assistant coaches will be Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, the now retired former Seattle Storm head coach Dan Hughes, and Connecticut Sun president Jennifer Rizzotti. Team USA will compete in group B against Nigeria, Japan, and France. Here are the WNBA players representing and the new numbers they will be wearing.

The Unanimous GOATS

This roster wouldn’t be complete without Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Going into their fifth Olympics, this will most likely be their final trip. since they are 39 and 40 respectively. Bird, the point guard for the Seattle Storm, is a four time WNBA champion. She is all the time league leader in assists, minutes played, and games played. Taurasi is a guard for the Phoenix Mercury and a three time WNBA champion. She is the leagues all time leading scorer and all time leader in three point shots made. Bird will wear #6 instead of her traditional #10, and Taurasi will wear #12 instead of her traditional #3. Both players are in the top ten in other key WNBA categories. If the US wins, they will be the only USA basketball players male or female to win five gold medals.

Reigning and former MVPs

This is a star studded line up. It is huge that reginning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson is on this roster. Wilson is a center for the Las Vegas Aces. She has established herself already as one of the best players in the game. In her time at South Carolina, she had a legendary career, which lead to her becoming the number one overall pick, and the first draft pick in Aces history. Wilson will wear #9 as opposed to her regular #22. The Storm have a lot of representation on the team and that includes two time champion forward/center Breanna Stewart. Stewart was the MVP in 2018, and also was the finals MVP that year. On top of all that, Stewart added a EuroLeague title and Final Four MVP before the WNBA season started. It looks like Stewart will wear #10 instead of her normal #30.

Of course it doesn’t stop there. The 2017 WNBA MVP is on this roster too. Why not? You can never have enough MVPs. Former Chicago Sky and current Minnesota Lynx Center Sylvia Fowles brings some serious hardware as well as a two time WNBA champion and two time finals MVP. In the bubble in 2020, Fowles became the all time rebounding leader. Instead of #34, Fowles will wear #13 with team USA. This will be her fourth trip, and Fowles is the seventh player to represent USA basketball at four Olympics.

The rest of the roster

The big guns have been brought in with the addition of second time Olympian Brittney Griner. The Phoenix Mercury center will be the tallest on the roster standing at 6 foot 8. Griner will dunk if given the opportunity, she has 15 in the WNBA including three dunks in an All Star game. She dunked 52 times in her time at Baylor which is still the NCAA record. Look for the 2014 WBNA champion wearing #15 instead of her normal #42 as she will be blocking a ton of shots as well.

Then, there is Tina Charles. The former New York Liberty and current Washington Mystics center is also on some of the WNBA all time lists. The all time great will wear #14 instead of he usual #31 for her third time on the team. The rest of the roster is made up of new Olympians. Below is the list.

Guard Skylar Diggins-Smith from the Phoenix Mercury. She will wear #17 instead of #4. Diggins-Smith also spent time with the Dallas Wings.

Guard Jewell Loyd from the Seattle Storm. Loyd is a two time champion. It looks like she will wear #4 instead of her usual #24.

Forward Naphessa Collier from the Minnesota Lynx. The 2019 rookie of the year is the youngest member of the team. She will wear #54 instead of #24.

Guard Chelsea Gray from the Las Vegas Aces. She won the 2016 WNBA championship with the LA Sparks. She will wear #18 as opposed to #12.

Guard Ariel Atkins from the Washington Mystics. The 2019 WNBA champion will wear #52 instead of her usual #7.

The USA women have been dominant in international play. In Rio, they put up over 200 points in their first preliminary round game. The other team struggled to put up 80. Safe to say this team is the overwhelming favorite.

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