After one of the most unique seasons in league history, several prominent WNBA players are returning to the basketball court for USA Basketball Women’s National Team Minicamp.
Amongst those representing the 2020 WNBA champion Seattle Storm include Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart. Sue Bird and Morgan Tuck are also a part of the pool of 36 WNBA players from which the Olympic team will be selected.
Storm head coach Dan Hughes will assist USA and South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley on the sidelines in Tokyo this summer, as well as at the four-day minicamp.
Former Oregon State standout and Los Angeles Sparks star Sydney Wiese will also join the U.S. squad at the University of South Carolina from Feb. 4-7.
“It’s been a year since we’ve been together for a training camp, and I’m excited to step back on the court with the USA National Team,” Staley said in a statement via USA Basketball. “We’ve got a great mix of veteran leadership and younger players, most of whom know how I run practices, and I anticipate we’ll have four extremely competitive days of practice here in South Carolina. We’re missing a few pieces of the puzzle, we have 36 players in our pool, but it will be incredibly helpful in our preparations for the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.”
Like last year’s unprecedented WNBA season, COVID-19 protocols will be in place to guarantee the safety of all athletes, coaches, officials and staff. Practices will take place each day at 10:00 EST, however, media and guests will be unable to attend in accordance with USA Basketball and CDC recommendations.
“USA Basketball has worked closely with health experts and the University of South Carolina to develop a safe, secure and controlled environment for this training camp,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said.“We’re excited to be able to have the opportunity to continue our USA National Team’s preparations for the Olympics, and we’re confident we have a solid plan in place that will help protect the health and safety of all the athletes, coaches, and staff.”
40-year-old Bird already has four Olympic gold medals to her name (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) and looks to help team U.S.A. take home its seventh-straight gold. Breanna Stewart also took home her first gold medal during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Loyd looks to add a fourth gold medal to her total in the 2021 Olympics. She currently has three gold medals as a member of USA Basketball at the FIBA U17 World Cup in 2010, the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in 2014 and the FIBA World Cup in 2018, but failed to crack the Olympics 12-member roster in 2016.
Tuck, who the Storm acquired via a trade with the Connecticut Sun last season, has been a fixture on U.S.A. teams since adolescence. She’s represented the red, white and blue at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, 2013 FIBA U19 World Cup, 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, 2011 FIBA U19 World Cup and 2010 FIBA U17 World Cup.
Team U.S.A. will look to sustain its gold medal success July 23-Aug. 8, 2021 in Tokyo. The USA women are riding a 66-3 all-time Olympic record and have a 49-game winning streak dating back to 1992.