MINNEAPOLIS - The 2021 Summer Olympics are about a month away in Tokyo, Japan, and on Monday the roster for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball team was unveiled.
There are two Minnesota Lynx players who will wear the USA jersey, and Lynx coach and GM Cheryl Reeve will be on the coaching staff. The USA Women’s Basketball Selection Committee picked center Sylvia Fowles, and guard/forward Napheesa Collier among the 12 players for the roster.
Fowles will be competing in her fourth Olympics, and also won a Gold medal with Team USA at the 2010 FIBA World Cup. She’s seeking her fourth Olympic Gold.
"It’s still surreal. You never want to get ahead of yourself and get too comfortable in the position that you’re in. To even be in the pool of being named to my fourth Olympic team, I’m very proud of myself. It’s still a surreal moment," Fowles said Monday.
It will be the first Olympics for Collier. She said she was on her way with the Lynx to the airport when she got the call from Team USA National Director Carol Callan that she had fulfilled a lifelong dream and made the Olympic team. Collier is one of six first-time Olympians this year, an item to check off her bucket list.
"I was really, really excited when Carol (Callan) called me. I actually got the call on the bus on the way to the airport, so my team was behind me cheering. It was really, really exciting and of course I’m so excited to play with Mama Syl. It’s such an honor to play with her, to get to go the Olympics with her is going to be amazing," Collier said Monday. "Obviously I’ve watched the Olympics since I can remember and to think that one day I would be on that team, it’s been a dream since 2013. Even before that, making the Olympics one day was a huge goal. To say that I’m here is crazy."
The U.S. Women’s Basketball Team is the six-time defending Gold medalists. The roster now features two five-time Olympians, one four-time Olympian, one three-time Olympian, two in their second Olympics and six who will be playing for Team USA for the first time.
Fowles knows Team USA will get every opponent’s best game, and has the target on its back heading to Tokyo. They are the likely Gold medal favorites when play starts in late July.
It might also be the final time she puts the USA jersey on.
"I’m definitely soaking this moment up because not everybody gets an opportunity, a chance to compete for a fourth Gold medal. I’m soaking it up for sure," Fowles said.
Team USA will be coached by Dawn Staley. Reeve is one of the assistants on the staff.
"USA Basketball has never been in a better place," Staley said. "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."
Athletes on the USA roster have a combined 15 Olympic gold and 19 FIBA World Cup Gold medals, collectively have 60 total Gold medals and a 749-37 overall record wearing a USA uniform.
All 12 athletes on the roster took part in the 2019-20 USA Basketball National Team expanded training program. The team posted a 17-1 record, including 5-1 against NCAA Division I teams in exhibition games and 12-0 versus international teams in FIBA-sanctioned competitions.
The XXXII Olympic Games women’s basketball competition will be held July 26-Aug. 8 at the Saitama Super Arena.