June 21, 2021
Breaking down USA Basketball’s Tokyo team
Bird, Taurasi, Fowles lead Staley's elite roster
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The USA women’s senior national team roster was announced Monday, revealing the team of 12 that will compete for gold in Tokyo. Team selections for the six-time defending Olympic gold medalists USA were made by the USA Basketball women’s national team player selection committee.
The roster is headed by four-time gold medalists Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi who will be competing in their fifth Olympic games, joining Teresa Edwards as the only players in USA women’s basketball history to accomplish that feat. The two future hall-of-famers will look to clinch a record fifth gold medal during the games in Tokyo. The duo also owns a combined seven FIBA World Cup gold medals.
Sylvia Fowles, three-time Olympic gold medalist and 2010 FIBA World Cup gold medalist, will also be joining the roster, looking to clinch her fourth Olympic gold medal and cement her legacy as one of the greatest post players to don a USA basketball jersey.
Playing in her third Olympic games, Tina Charles will look to add to her resume of two Olympic golds and three World Cup gold medals. Breanna Stewart and Brittney Griner, who won gold with the USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, represent the other two players on the roster who have previously competed in the Olympic games. The duo look to secure a second Olympic gold medal as veterans on the team in Tokyo.
The remainder of the squad will be competing for their first Olympic gold, headed by A’ja Wilson and Jewell Loyd, who have previously won a FIBA World Cup gold medal in the 2018 World Cup. Competing on the world stage for the first time at a FIBA senior-level five-on-five competition will be Ariel Atkins, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Chelsea Gray.
“USA Basketball has never been in a better place,” said U.S. Olympic Team head coach Dawn Staley, who claimed three gold medals as an athlete and helped guide two more Olympic teams to gold as an assistant coach. “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.”
The USA, which owns an all-time record of 66-3 in Olympic play, enters the Tokyo Olympics riding a 49-game winning streak in Olympic competition, which began with the 1992 bronze medal game and includes a record six-straight gold medals.
Written by Tee Baker
Tee is a women's basketball reporter and historian. At "The Next" Tee covers the BIG EAST conference and contributes articles and media featuring the WBL, the first professional women's basketball league in the United States.