The U.S. women’s national basketball team will begin their run for a seventh consecutive gold medal on Tuesday against Nigeria.
Entering group play the team is viewed as favorites to win gold, and on the team to help them do so is Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd.
Loyd is participating in her first Olympics and is basking in what comes with the distinction of Olympian.
“For me being a first-timer, I’m just enjoying the experience,” Loyd said. “The opening ceremony was very unique. It was nice to get outside of the hotel and be with other athletes and go through the whole process. I think we’re ready to play games, I think we’re ready to go. We have kinda been here for a while, we’re focused and I think it’s time to go.”
Being in a different country during a pandemic is a risk Loyd and hundreds of athletes are taking to represent their country. Loyd and teammate Breanna Stewart have admitted staying inside the hotel most of the day is a lot, but when they’re able to leave and not hoop it’s an enjoyable experience.
The two being together along with other top WNBA players gives them an opportunity to grow their relationship and become closer with their teammates. Growing their relationships with their peers is what Loyd views as important for the team to continue their historic success.
“The biggest thing for us is to continue to communicate,” she said. “It’s different coming from different WNBA teams with different terminology. Just getting on the same page with each other has been the biggest thing. We’ve just been working on communicating, talking, and getting to know each other.”
Through their time together, Loyd has noticed her teammates becoming comfortable with each other and more importantly their expected roles on the team.
Adjusting to a different role is what most of the players on the team have to do. Loyd is an All-Star guard with the Storm but will have reduced minutes and a smaller role on a star-studded team.
“The mentality for me is to keep it simple and stay confident,” Loyd said of her role.
Loyd plans to make the most of her minutes and have short-term memory if her shot isn't going. As she knows there are other ways for her to make an impact on the game.