September 20, 2022 

Breaking down the Team USA World Cup roster

Stewart and Wilson lead a cast of All-Star players for the U.S.

Team USA has narrowed its roster down to the 12 players who will represent it at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney, Australia. The announcement comes about 48 hours before its first game with Belgium, which will tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night (11:30 a.m. Thursday Sydney time).

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Only five players who won the gold medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics are back: Ariel Atkins, Chelsea Gray, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, and A’ja Wilson. Kelsey Plum, who won the gold medal in the 3X3 competition at Tokyo, is on the squad as well.

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Making their debuts on this level will be: Shakira Austin, Kahleah Copper, Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Brionna Jones, and Alyssa Thomas. Wilson, Stewart, Plum, and Loyd are the only players returning from the team that won the previous World Cup at Tenerife, Spain, in 2018. Stewart was also on the team that won the gold medal at the 2014 World Cup in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medal team.

Three players from the Las Vegas Aces team that won the WNBA championship on Sunday are headed to Australia: Wilson, Plum and Gray, who was named the MVP of the series. Thomas and Brionna Jones were on the losing Connecticut Sun, which also featured Jonquel Jones, who will play for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Atkins and Austin (Washington), Loyd and Stewart (Seattle), and Laney and Ionescu (New York) are also teammates in the WNBA. Copper plays for the Chicago Sky in the WNBA and was the MVP of the Finals in 2021o. She was a college teammate of Laney at Rutgers. Thomas and Jones were also teammates with the Maryland Terrapins in college.

The 6’5 center Austin joins the team after a breakout rookie season with the Mystics and the University of Mississippi. She will be the youngest player on the team. The 30-year-old Thomas is the oldest and recently recorded the first triple double in the WNBA Finals history (and then the second!).

Atkins, Gray, Jones, Loyd, Plum, and Thomas were also on the team for the World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Washington, back in February.

Jen Rizzotti chaired the selection committee. Cheryl Reeve will coach the team with assistants Mike Thibault, Kara Lawson and Joni Taylor.

Written by Scott Mammoser

Scott Mammoser has covered major international events for FIBA, World Athletics and the International Skating Union. He has been to six Olympics and traveled to more than 90 countries.


  1. Peter Bell on September 21, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    It would be great if someone could tell us how (if at all) we in the Eastern US time zone can watch (or tape) the USA games.

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