Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale Among Major Snubs from Team USA Women’s Basketball Roster for 2024 Olympics

Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale Among Major Snubs from Team USA Women's Basketball Roster for 2024 Olympics
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As the 2024 Olympics in Paris approach, the announcement of Team USA’s women’s basketball roster has stirred significant attention. Team USA, aiming for its eighth consecutive gold medal, has unveiled a roster filled with top-tier talent. However, the exclusion of certain prominent players, including Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale, has sparked considerable discussion.

With only a limited number of spots available, making the Team USA Olympic squad is one of the toughest achievements in basketball. Heading into the summer, a major question was whether Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, would make the team. Unfortunately for Clark, the answer is no. Christine Brennan of USA Today reported Clark’s omission shortly after midnight on Saturday, with David Eickholt of 247Sports confirming the news soon after. The Athletic revealed the full roster later that morning.

Given the talent on the roster, criticisms are minimal. While some may question 41-year-old Diana Taurasi’s inclusion, her long-standing commitment to the program justifies her spot. Similarly, Chelsea Gray’s selection raises eyebrows due to her recent eight-month absence from play because of a foot injury. Nevertheless, her status as the world’s best point guard secures her place, provided she is healthy by July. If not, an alternate can be named.

Despite the strong roster, several notable players have valid claims to being snubbed:

Ariel Atkins, G, Mystics Though not the biggest name and currently struggling with her shooting, Atkins has been a regular contributor to Team USA, securing gold medals at the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup. Known as one of the best perimeter defenders, her exclusion is largely due to the deep pool of talented backcourt players and her slow start this season, shooting a career-low 30% from three.

Caitlin Clark: G, Fever Clark aimed to be the fifth rookie to make the Olympic roster, following in the footsteps of Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, Candace Parker, and Breanna Stewart. Despite her impressive rookie season—averaging 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists—Clark has struggled with turnovers and the physicality of the league. More experienced guards outpaced her, and concerns about her fans’ reactions to limited playing time also played a role. Nevertheless, Clark is expected to be a mainstay on future Olympic teams, starting in 2028.

Skylar Diggins-Smith, G. Storm Despite her talent, Diggins-Smith has only one Olympic gold medal, earned in Tokyo. Her omission from the Paris roster likely stems from her recent maternity leave, missing the entire last season, and not being included in the April training camp. At 33, her Olympic appearances might be limited to Tokyo.

Dearica Hamby, F, Sparks Hamby has delivered an outstanding season with the Sparks, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. However, breaking into Team USA without previous involvement is nearly impossible due to the depth of talent available.

Arike Ogunbowale G. Wings Ogunbowale, has consistently been on the periphery of Team USA, attending numerous training camps and participating in exhibition games but never making the final roster. Despite being second in the league in scoring this season and averaging career-highs in assists and steals, she remains one of the biggest snubs.

Nneka Ogwumike’s absence is tied to her attempt to play for Team Nigeria after being left off the Tokyo Olympics team. FIBA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport denied her request. Given these circumstances, it’s unlikely she will wear a USA jersey again.

Team USA’s roster decisions are always challenging, given the wealth of talent in American women’s basketball. While some exclusions are contentious, the team remains a formidable favourite for the gold medal in Paris.


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