Analysis: US women look to add depth on Olympic hoops roster

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The U.S. women’s basketball team has a few questions surrounding its roster as the Americans prepare to make a run at a seventh consecutive gold medal in the Olympics.

There are six returning Olympians — Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi should make the team when the squad for the Tokyo Games is announced. The group has won a combined 15 gold medals.

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All are playing well this WNBA season and, with the exception of Taurasi, are healthy. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer has been dealing with a fractured sternum suffered last month. The four-time Olympic gold medalist is expected to return to the Phoenix Mercury lineup in a few weeks and should be ready to go for training camp in Las Vegas in July.

Elena Delle Donne would be a lock to make the team as well, but she hasn’t played in 18 months because of the coronavirus pandemic and a second back surgery. The former WNBA MVP and 2016 Olympic medalist hasn’t even practiced yet with the Washington Mystics this season.

It would be highly unlikely for Delle Donne to be on the roster if she doesn’t return with the Mystics before the Olympic break.

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That leaves six spots for Olympic newcomers out of the national team pool. The reigning league MVP A’ja Wilson is clearly a favorite to earn one of those spots. She was part of the World Championship team that won a gold medal in Spain in 2018. She would strengthen an already dominant U.S. post presence even more.

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