When the Olympic Break takes place from July 15-Aug. 11 in the WNBA, most of the league will use that time to rest up and prepare for the second half of the regular season. For a trio from the Minnesota Lynx, that won’t be the case — they’ll be busy taking part in the Tokyo Olympics.
On Monday, USA Basketball announced its roster for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball team, with players Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles as well as Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve making the list.
“It’s a dream and an honor to now finally be here, and a big milestone,” Collier said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to compete.”
Collier and Fowles are among the 12 players who will represent Team USA in the Olympic Games, with Reeve once again serving as Dawn Staley‘s assistant.
This marks the appearance of at least one Lynx player in the games for the sixth-straight Olympic year: Seimone Augustus (2008, 2012, and 2016), Maya Moore (2012 and 2016), Katie Smith (2000, 2004, and 2008), and Lindsay Whalen (2012 and 2016) all have represented America in the past.
Collier will take the court in five-on-five Olympic competition for the first time, although she has participated in various other contests with Team USA in the past. Collier, the youngest player on Team USA’s roster at 24, has previously won gold medals at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, 2015 FIBA U19 World Cup, and 2019 FIBA AmeriCup. She was also named to the Women’s 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Team, but didn’t take part in that tournament after the dates were changed.
“I didn’t even know until the moment Carol (Callan, USA Women’s National Team director) called me,” Collier said of finding out she made the final roster. “It’s just a blessing. I feel so honored that the USA chose me and that I get to experience this with this team of amazing women.”
Fowles is no stranger to representing Team USA. She’s set to compete in her fourth-straight Olympics, having also won gold in 2008, 2012, and 2016. The veteran center has also claimed gold at the 2005 World University Games, 2010 FIBA World Cup, and 2019 FIBA AmeriCup, where she won MVP.
Fowles is set to become the seventh player — man or woman — to represent Team USA in four Olympics, joining Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Teresa Edwards, Carmelo Anthony, Tamika Catchings, and Lisa Leslie.
“It’s still surreal. You never want to get too ahead of yourself and get to comfortable in the position that you’re in,” Fowles said. “I think I’ve had the opportunity to put in some great work over the last couple years with Team USA. To even be in the pool of being named to my fourth Olympic team, I’m very proud of myself. At the same time, it’s a credit to myself and the work I’ve put in.”
Reeve will once again be among the trio who fills out the assistant coaching staff under Staley, joining former WNBA head coach Dan Hughes and Connecticut Sun president Jennifer Rizzotti. That same trio made up the coaching staff of the 2018 FIBA World Cup gold medal team.
Outside of this upcoming Olympic Games and that 2018 FIBA World Cup team, Reeve also assisted in claiming gold medals at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, 2016 Olympics, and 2019 USA AmeriCup.
“Representing the USA is a tremendous honor, and I’m thrilled to once again support head coach Dawn Staley on this journey to winning gold in 2020 at the Olympics in Tokyo,” Reeve said.
Whether it’s as a coach, in the case of Reeve, or as a player like Fowles and Collier, taking part in any Olympic Games is an honor.
“I’m definitely soaking this moment up,” Fowles said. “Not everyone gets the opportunity at a chance to compete for a fourth gold medal, but it’s important to not get sidetracked. We need to make sure we go in there to do what we came to do, and that is to win.”
Women’s basketball competition at the Olympic Games will begin July 26 and run through Aug. 8 in Saitama, Japan. Team USA will open play in the preliminary round at 11:40 p.m. (CDT) on July 26 against 2019 FIBA Africa champion Nigeria, later taking on 2019 FIBA Asia gold medalist Japan at 11:40 p.m. (CDT) on July 29 and 2019 FIBA Europe silver medalist France at 11:30 p.m. (CDT) on Aug. 1.