Team USA women's basketball roster 2024: Caitlin Clark, Arike Ogunbowale among biggest snubs from Olympic team



The 2024 Olympics are set to begin in just under two months in Paris. The women’s basketball tournament is sure to have plenty of attention on it when the teams arrive in Europe. Team USA is once again the favorite, and the Americans will be looking for an eighth consecutive gold medal. 

Considering the depth of talent and the limited spots, Team USA’s Olympic squad is arguably the hardest basketball team to make in the world. Heading into the summer, one of the biggest questions was whether Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, would make the cut. 

The answer is no. Shortly after midnight on Saturday, Christine Brennan of USA Today reported that Clark would not make the trip to Paris, and David Eickholt of 247Sports confirmed the news a short while later. On Saturday morning, The Athletic reported the full roster.

Napheesa Collier

Minnesota Lynx

Forward

2020

Kahleah Copper

Phoenix Mercury

Guard/Forward

None

Chelsea Gray

Las Vegas Aces

Guard

2020

Brittney Griner

Phoenix Mercury

Center

2016, 2020

Sabrina Ionescu

New York Liberty

Guard

None

Jewell Loyd

Seattle Storm

Guard

2020

Kelsey Plum

Las Vegas Aces

Guard

None

Breanna Stewart

New York Liberty

Forward

2016, 2020

Diana Taurasi

Phoenix Mercury

Guard

2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020

Alyssa Thomas

Connecticut Sun

Forward

None

A’ja Wilson

Las Vegas Aces

Forward/Center

2020

Jackie Young

Las Vegas Aces

Guard/Forward

2020 (3×3 team)

With a roster like that, it’s hard to make many criticisms. 

You can quibble with Taurasi still taking a spot at 41 years old, but she’s earned the right to be there through her commitment to the program. Chelsea Gray’s inclusion is another slight question mark considering she hasn’t played a game in eight months due to a foot injury, but she’s the best point guard in the world. If she’s healthy come July, she has to be on the team. If not, you can always name an alternate. 

That being said, there are a number of players who can make a valid case that they deserved to be on the Olympic roster. Here are some of the biggest snubs for Team USA:

Ariel Atkins — G, Mystics

Atkins is not the biggest name, nor has she been playing her best basketball this summer. Still, she has been a recent mainstay in the program, winning gold medals with Team USA at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and 2022 World Cup in Australia. She’s also one of the best perimeter defenders in the world. The problem for Atkins is that the backcourt pool is extremely deep and she’s off to a tough start this summer. Through 11 games, she’s shooting a career-low 30.0% from behind the arc. 

Caitlin Clark — G, Fever

Clark was vying to be the fifth rookie ever to make the Olympic roster, joining Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, Candace Parker and Stewart. She’s the most controversial exclusion — at least on social media. While she’s on pace to be the fifth player in WNBA history to average at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists for a season, and is fourth in the league in assists and second in made 3s, she’s also been turnover prone and struggled at times to deal with the physicality. 

Plus, there are a number of more experienced guards ahead of her in the pecking order. Furthermore, according to Brennan, part of the reason she didn’t make the cut is that USA Basketball veterans had “concern about how Clark’s millions of fans would react to what would likely be limited playing time on a stacked roster.” Whatever the final reasoning, there’s no question Clark will be a staple on the Olympic team starting in 2028. 

Skylar Diggins-Smith — G, Storm

For all her talent, you would expect Diggins-Smith to have more than one Olympic gold medal, but she didn’t make her debut until Tokyo. That, it turns out, may be her lone appearance. The 33-year-old is one of the few active players from that team to not make the cut for Paris, and in fact was not even included on the April training camp squad. That may have more to do with her personal situation than anything. She missed all of last season on maternity leave, and will likely enjoy the break with her family

Dearica Hamby — F, Sparks

USA Basketball has so much talent to choose from in the program that it’s essentially impossible for players who weren’t previously in the mix to force their way on to the team with outstanding play. If there was going to be one this cycle, it would have been Dearica Hamby. The veteran forward has been immense for the Sparks, and is averaging career-highs across the board with 20.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game on 54.9% shooting. 

Arike Ogunbowale — G, Wings

Ogunbowale has always been just on the outside, looking in when it comes to Team USA. She’s attended plenty of training camps, played in exhibition games and participated in the 2020 Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but has never made the final roster for the World Cup or Olympics. That didn’t change this year, and she is arguably the biggest snub of all. Through the first three weeks of the season, she’s second in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game, and is averaging career-highs with five assists and 3.1 steals per game. 

Nneka Ogwumike — F, Storm

Fans may be wondering why Ogwumike wasn’t in the mix despite her continued excellence, so it’s worth explaining her situation even if she isn’t a true snub. After being left off the team for the Tokyo Olympics in surprise fashion, Ogwumike (along with her sister, Chiney, and veteran forward Elizabeth Williams), applied to play for Team Nigeria instead. FIBA denied the request, as did the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Given how that saga unfolded, its unlikely we’ll ever see Ogwumike in a USA jersey again. 





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