Caitlin Clark expected to be left off USA Paris Olympics roster, and it makes sense

Over the past few years Caitlin Clark has captivated not just the women’s basketball world, but the sports world in general. Her incredible shooting range helped Iowa to back-to-back National Championship Games, made her a household name, and led to her being drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever in the most recent WBNA Draft. However, when it comes to the United States women’s basketball team for the Paris Summer Olympics, she faced an uphill climb.

Now, according to multiple reports, Clark is expected to be left off the final roster.

As first reported by The Athletic, the 12 athletes expected to be selected include a number of players with Olympic experience. As reported by The Athletic, the players expected to be selected are: A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Sabrina Ionescu, Chelsea Gray and Kahleah Copper.

Of those 12 players, seven have Olympic 5-on-5 experience, while two more have Olympic 3-on-3 (Plum and Gray). Only Ionescu, Copper, and Thomas will be first-time players. That is a very deep and talented roster of players, the majority of whom have been on the Olympic stage before.

In addition, that roster is loaded at the guard positions. Gray, Ionescu, Loyd, Plum, and Young give the team five tremendous options at the guard spots.

Clark, who was invited to team’s final training camp ahead of the Summer Games but could not attend as she was playing in the Women’s Final Four with Iowa, could theoretically still make the team as an injury replacement. While official alternates are not named it is believed, according to available reporting, that Clark — along with Fever teammate Aliyah Boston and Connecticut Sun forward Brionna Jones — are likely replacements in the event of an injury.

Gray suffered a foot injury in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, and has yet to play for the Las Vegas Aces this season. It is expected that she will be ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which begin at the end of July, and she did participate in a training camp with the team in Cleveland in April.

However, such a substitution would need to be made ahead of the Olympics. Once the tournament begins in Paris, players cannot be added to the roster.

Clark, who is coming off perhaps her best game in the WNBA on Friday night, as she scored 30 points and was 7-of-13 from three-point range, is averaging 16.8 ppg for the Fever as a rookie. She also leads the league with 67 turnovers.

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