Caitlin Clark Left Off USA Basketball Team for the Olympics

  • The USA women’s national basketball team heads to Paris this summer for the Olympics, having won seven straight gold medals.
  • Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark, who has bee a massive marketing boost for the WNBA this season, was left off the team.
  • In an ESPN report, Clark said she’s “not disappointed” with being left off the team, and she’ll have a three-week rest after a grueling period over the last eight months.

Most betting sites have the USA women’s basketball team as one of the biggest favorites in Paris 2024 this summer. The American team has won nine of the last 10 gold medals in basketball at the Olympics, including the last seven.

However, one of the biggest names in women’s basketball won’t be on the roster. ESPN revealed on Saturday, June 8th, that Caitlin Clark of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever didn’t make the team. This has caused a discourse among sports talk radio, podcasts, and even on mainstream sites such as CNN.

To her credit, Clark responded in another ESPN report that she is fine with the federation’s call to leave her off the team. It means she’ll have a three-week break while the WNBA pauses its season for the Olympics.  

USA Taking Veteran-Laden Squad to Paris, No Rookies Make Team

The Americans have a loaded team going to Paris this summer. Two-time WNBA MVPs A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart headline the team, along with Diana Taurasi, who is headed to her sixth Olympics.

Also on the team are Napheesa Collier, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, and Kelsey Plum. There are three Olympic “rookies”: Sabrina Ionescu, Kahleah Copper, and Alyssa Thomas.

Team USA has an embarrassment of riches, so it’s not difficult to see why Clark was left off the team because of basketball reasons. Clark told reporters:

“I’m excited for the first that are on the team. I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could have gone either way – me being on the team or not being on the team….honestly, no disappointment. It just gives me something to work for; it’s a dream…hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

There is an excellent chance Clark will be on the 2028 team as one of its top players. She has had an up-and-down start to her WNBA career, averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Clark also leads the league in turnovers as she gets used to the speed and physicality of the WNBA.

However, there is no doubt that Clark has raised the profile of the league. The WNBA put out a news release on Monday, June 10th, regarding its success.

May was the highest opening WNBA month ever when it comes to attendance, and the number of WNBA app monthly active users increased a staggering 613% year-over-year. Much of that is credited to Clark, along with fellow rookies Angel Reese, Cameron Brink, and Kate Martin.

Clark responded to being left off the team on Saturday by scoring 30 points in an 85-83 win at Washington.

Clark Finally Gets to Rest After Hectic Time

Due to the Olympics, the WNBA will be pausing the league while its best players are in Paris. That means Clark gets to have some time off. She started her final season in Iowa in November 2023 (not counting preseason training). Clark then played 39 games, concluding with an 87-75 loss in the national title game to South Carolina, her second consecutive loss in the championship game.

The college season ended on April 7th, then she was drafted first by the Indiana Fever on April 15th. Clark started preseason training right away, and has played all 12 of Indiana’s games so far this season. She admitted that a break would be nice:

“It's going to be a great month for my body to get rest, get healthy and just get a little time away from basketball and the craziness of everything that's been going on. And just find some peace and quiet for myself.”

For all the talk of Clark going to the Olympics to raise the profile of women’s basketball, she wouldn’t have played much this time around.

There’s a chance for Clark to play in Paris, as Gray is still working her way back from a foot injury. However, a chance to recharge her batteries will help her the overwhelming WNBA betting favorite for Rookie of the Year, as she navigates her debut season.

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About the Author
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Elliot Nield
Casino/Sportsbook Writer
Elliot Nield has worked in the online gambling industry for almost two decades, and while his focus is on sports, he doesn't mind a few hours on the poker felts and the blackjack tables. In his spare time, Elliot can be found cheering on Manchester United and the Kansas City Chiefs, and praying that Patrick Mahomes stays healthy forever.

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