2024 Olympics: Team USA narrows down the 12-player roster for FIBA qualifying tournament

2024 Olympics: Team USA narrows down the 12-player roster for FIBA qualifying tournament


USA Women’s National Basketball Team finalizes 12-Player Roster Following Brooklyn training camp ahead of FIBA qualifying tournament.

Photo Credit: Sara Jane Gamelli/Ballislife

BROOKLYN– Following a three day training camp at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the USA Women’s National Basketball announced their 12-player roster for the FIBA qualifying tournament. With the lineup set, the USA team will compete in the tournament on Feb. 8-11, in Antwerp, Belgium.

Already qualified in the 2024 Paris Olympics, USA will compete against Belgium, Nigeria, and Senegal. The first matchup vs. Belgium will take place on Feb. 8 at 2:45 p.m. ET. USA will face Nigeria on Feb. 9, starting at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Over the weekend, the 18-roster mini camp roster included the following athletes: Allisha Gray, Aliyah Boston, Alyssa Thomas, Ariel Atkins, Arike Ogunbowale, A’ja Wilson, Betnijah Laney, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Chelsea Gray, Diana Taurasi, Jackie Young, Jewell Loyd, Kahleah Copper, Kelsey Plum, Napheesa Collier, Rhyne Howard, and Sabrina Ionescu.

Throughout training camp, all players were divided into two teams, one sporting grey jerseys, and the other, red scrimmage vests. In the intense practice, the athletes were seen competing 5 vs. 5 against male basketball players, and each other. In attendance was WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, Chicago Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, among several high-profile coaches and general managers.

After the 5 vs. 5 scrimmage matchups, the players were seen working on their shots in individual and group settings.

Although all of these players are exceptional athletes, unfortunately six of them were cut before this weekend’s qualifying tournament. Noticeably absent is Aces star, A’ja Wilson, who has prior commitments, and Brittney Griner. It seems the rookies are being given a chance to compete in Belgium coming up.

Diana Taurasi is competing for her sixth Olympic gold medal

The 12-roster finalists include five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Diana Taurasi. The UConn legend has spent all 16 years of her WNBA career with the Phoenix Mercury. She received a gold medal in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.

Present at training camp, Taurasi shed light on competing for her country, and the younger generation taking over as the new faces of women’s basketball.

“It’s always been something that we’ve taken seriously,” Taurasi told the media after practice. “These camps happen for a reason, obviously it’s an Olympic year. They are hind in the intensity and pressure, but coach Reeves, she does a good job of making it very simple. You come out here, you play hard, you play for your teammate, you play for your country.”

Considering the Olympics are every four years, at age 41, this could very well be Taurasi’s last Olympics of her professional career. Even at her age, Taurasi still loves competing at a high level.

“It’s no secret, it’s ground and pound,” said Taurasi. “Everyone is always trying to ask– you want to do it every single day when you’re 40. It hurts a little bit more, it takes a little bit longer, but it’s sweeter when the day’s over. I still love to compete. I still love to play. “

Rookies are getting a shot this upcoming weekend

Former rookies of the year Aliyah Boston, and Atlanta Dream guard Rhyne Howard, are both finalists for the 12-person roster. Although they have prior USA basketball experience, they will make their senior debuts this weekend in Belgium. Boston, the former No.1 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, became the first rookie to start an All-Star game since 2014. Howard, a 2x WNBA All-Star, has blossomed into a star in just two seasons.

“Sweet feet, she’s got sweet feet.” said Taurasi on Aliyah Boston. “What a great kid. I’ve spent some time her in the last camp. She’s such a brilliant, intelligent, young woman. You don’t get to know how good someone is until you pay with them. Aliyah [Boston] is the future of not only the WNBA, but of USA Basketball.”

As Taurasi competes for her sixth Olympic gold medal, the Mercury star says it’s been fun to play with the younger generation of players, and the game of basketball has evolved over the years. Although she’s accustomed to certain levels of comfortability, she’s open to achieving the same goal of winning a gold medal despite differences levels of experience.

“It’s funny, sometimes experience is an Achilles heel,” Taurasi told the media. “You’ve been through it so many times. You feel like there’s a certain way of doing it. Being around these kids not only in USA Basketball, the WNBA, it’s a whole new generation of kids. They learn different, they think different, the play different. It’s been really fun to see how they go about it, and there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

The final 12-person roster for the FIBA qualifying tournament

The other qualifying athletes include Ariel Atkins, Napheesa Collier, Kahleah Copper, Sabrina Ionescu, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Breanna Stewart, Alyssa Thomas, and Jackie Young. Seeking their eight consecutive Gold Medal, Atkins, Collier, Loyd, Plum, Stewart, and Young were all participants in the 2020 Olympics. A core part of the 3×3 2020 Olympic team, Plum and Young are once again headed to Paris. Copper and Thomas were both members of the 2022 USA Women’s World Cup roster.

As the team heads over seas, Cheryl Reeve, head coach of the Minnesota Lynx, was named the USA Women’s Basketball Head Coach for the training camp and qualifying tournaments.

There will be another training camp in April, where the team can make its final roster changes before heading to Paris this summer. The reigning champions, the USA National Women’s basketball team hasn’t lost since the 1992 Olympics, where they earned a bronze medal.

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Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter, Content Creator and Social Media Manager for Ballislife Bets. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.

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