USA Basketball named the 12 players for its women’s national team roster on Monday. The Washington Mystics will be well-represented with Ariel Atkins and Shakira Austin officially named to the roster. Washington head coach Mike Thibault is also an assistant coach.
Per a press release, the other players are Kahleah Copper (Chicago Sky), Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces), Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty), Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun), Betnijah Laney (Liberty), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Plum (Aces), Alyssa Thomas (Sun), Breanna Stewart (Storm) and A’ja Wilson (Aces).
It should be no surprise that Atkins is on Team USA. Austin’s addition, is a welcome surprise. If some other American players, like Elena Delle Donne decided to be in the World Cup, Austin may not be here. But this will be a great opportunity for Austin, who is the only rookie here.
The Mystics may have players on other national teams too. Rui Machida has played for the Japan women’s national team but isn’t on their roster on FIBA’s tournament site.
Team USA will begin play on Thursday morning local time against Belgium. Given the time difference, the game is actually on Wednesday evening Washington time. I’ll give a more detailed preview later tonight.
Go Team USA!