Over the weekend, the US Women’s National Basketball Team held a three-day, 18-player training camp at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Now, 12 of those players will represent the United States at the 2024 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Antwerp, Belgium, which begins Feb. 8 and continues through Feb. 11.
The members of the 2024 USA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team are: Ariel Atkins, Aliyah Boston, Napheesa Collier, Kahleah Copper, Rhyne Howard, Sabrina Ionescu, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, Alyssa Thomas and Jackie Young.
Taurasi, Atkins, Collier, Loyd and Stewart have represented Team USA at the Olympic Games, with all five winning gold in 2020. Stewart and Taurasi also took home gold in 2016, while Taurasi collected three more golds in 2012, 2008 and 2004. Like Atkins, Loyd and Stewart, Copper, Ionescu, Plum and Thomas were members of the victorious 2022 USA Women’s World Cup Team. Young, along with Plum, won 3x3 gold for the USA at the 2020 Olympics, but this will be her 5x5 senior national team debut. It is the first senior national team event for Boston and Howard.
Those snubbed are Allisha Gray, Betnijah Laney and Arike Ogunbowale. Gray was a 3x3 gold medalist alongside Plum and Young in 2020, while Laney was on the 2022 World Cup Team.
According to the Associated Press, Gray, Griner and Wilson are not making the trip to Belgium because they are “unavailable to play.” That designation suggests that those three otherwise would be on the team and, in all likelihood, will be on the final 12-player team that will represent the United States in Paris. Gray, presumably, is still recovering for the injury she suffered in the WNBA Finals, Griner, an unrestricted free agent, has yet to sign her next WNBA contract and Wilson is busy promoting her new book.
With the US having already qualified for the Olympics due to winning the World Cup in 2022, the internal competition for a spot on the team that will head to Paris could be more intense that the Americans’ external competition. Another training camp at the Final Four in Cleveland in April also will serve as an opportunity for players to make their case for Paris.
That said, head coach Cheryl Reeve is approaching this week’s three qualifying games with appropriate fear, especially the opening game against host Belgium on Thursday (2:45 p.m. ET). Reeve said of the challenge:
We’re expecting to go over there and be in a really tough environment. There’ll be 14,000 people rooting against us. It’s obviously a really good team as we open it, open the tournament. I’m hoping to experience that adversity in a way that helps prepare us for the next step.
After Belgium, Team USA then will play Nigeria on Feb. 9 (12:15 p.m. ET) and Senegal on Feb. 11 (1:15 p.m. ET). All games will stream free for Courtside 1891 subscribers.