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Angel McCoughtry out with major knee injury as Olympic roster selection nears

Angel McCoughtry

Basketball - Olympics: Day 11 Angel Mccoughtry #8 of United States drives to the basket defended by Maki Takada #8 of Japan during the USA Vs Japan Women’s Basketball Quarterfinal at Carioca Arena1 on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Corbis via Getty Images

In the last two Olympic women’s basketball finals, Maya Moore started at small forward, and Angel McCoughtry was the first to sub in for Moore off the bench. Now it looks like neither player will be in Tokyo.

McCoughtry tore the ACL and meniscus in her right knee in a Las Vegas Aces preseason game on Saturday. The Aces retweeted a report that McCoughtry will miss the rest of the year.

Moore last played competitive basketball in 2018, is on an indefinite break and appears set to miss the start of the WNBA season.

Moore is not in the 32-player U.S. national team pool from which the 12-player Olympic team is expected to be chosen. The U.S. Olympic team was announced in April in 2012 and 2016, but, this year, it will not be named before the WNBA season starts Friday.

McCoughtry, a 34-year-old tenacious defender, is one of four active women to play in every U.S. Olympic game in 2012 and 2016, along with Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles and Seimone Augustus.

She missed this Olympic cycle’s world championship in 2018 after tearing left knee ligaments.

That 2018 FIBA World Cup, the first major tournament under new coach Dawn Staley, may offer clues to the roster construction for Tokyo.

Without Moore and McCoughtry, the U.S. starting lineup then was Sue Bird, Taurasi, Breanna Stewart, Charles and Brittney Griner. Griner missed group games with an ankle injury. Nneka Ogwumike started in Griner’s absence as the U.S. went smaller.

Fellow forwards A’ja Wilson and Elena Delle Donne were the highest scorers off the bench for the U.S. in that tournament.

Stewart, the youngest player on the 2016 Olympic team who played an end-of-the-bench role in Rio, broke out in 2018. She was WNBA MVP, WNBA Finals MVP and FIBA World Cup MVP.

Delle Donne won the 2019 WNBA MVP.

Wilson, who played for Staley at the University of South Carolina, was coming off a WNBA Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018. Now she’s the reigning league MVP (Staley isn’t part of the Olympic roster selection committee).

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