Clark misses out on USA basketball Olympic call

Caitlin Clark puts her hands on her knees

USA Basketball has opted for experience in selecting the 12 women to represent the country at this summer's Olympics in Paris.

Diana Taurasi is set to make her sixth appearance at the Games, while nine other members of the squad have already won an Olympic gold medal.

There is no place for WNBA breakout star Caitlin Clark.

USA Basketball women's national team committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti said the selection process had been "challenging and competitive".

"We have selected a team that we are confident will represent our country to the highest standard in Paris," Rizzotti said.

The 12-strong roster heading to Paris boasts a combined 15 Olympic gold medals, 18 women's World Cup titles and 55 WNBA All-Star appearances.

Despite being heavy favourites as they chase an eighth successive Olympic gold medal, some have suggested the USA have missed a trick by not including rookie Clark.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a trailblazing college career with Iowa and her performances in the WNBA have helped boost the profile of women's sport while smashing attendance and viewing records.

USA Today columnist Christine Brennan said it is a "huge missed opportunity" by selectors.

ESPN pundit Stephen A Smith also criticised the decision.

"It compromises what your ultimate goal is, which is to elevate the WNBA brand," said Smith. "How could you be that idiotic and not make that call, when throughout history, Team USA has been, in part, about marketing? It's dumb, period."

Clark, speaking on Sunday, attempted to play down controversy and insisted she would be firmly behind 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 me not being on the team," she said.

"I'm going to be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics, so it will be fun to watch them.

"Honestly, no disappointment. It just gives me something to work for; it's a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there."

Meanwhile, Indiana coach Christie Sides expects Clark to grow from the experience.

"The thing she said was, 'Hey, coach, they woke a monster,' which I thought was awesome," Sides said.

"She's young, she's going to have so many opportunities in the future."

USA women's basketball squad for 2024 Olympics: Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Kahleah Copper (Phoenix Mercury), Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty), Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun), A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces) and Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces)