The USA Basketball women’s national team will participate in two friendlies against Tennessee and Duke in November, as well as the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Antwerp, Belgium in February. While the Americans have already qualified for the 2024 Olympics by winning the Gold Medal in the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup, they are still required to nominally participate in the qualifiers.
So which Mystics players have the best chance of suiting up for Team USA between now and February? Three players have recently played for their country, so let’s see who they are now.
- Elena Delle Donne — According to Jenn Hatfield of The Next, Delle Donne intends to participate in USA Basketball activities this offseason. Delle Donne does not play overseas in the offseason, so she should be fresher than most players. Delle Donne was on the 2016 Olympic and 2018 World Cup teams, so she should have a shorter path to making the 2024 Olympic roster than most others.
- Ariel Atkins — The Mystics’ long-time defensive stopper was on the 2020 Olympic and 2022 World Cup teams, so she too, should have a shorter path to making the squad than most players. Since she has been on both of Team USA’s most recent worldwide tournaments, I would hope Atkins still makes the 2024 Olympic team even though there are more guards who could also take her place for the November games at least. Atkins is recovering from a broken nose she suffered during the middle of the 2023 season.
- Shakira Austin — Washington’s starting center was part of the 2022 World Cup team and was a pleasant surprise addition on that team. She is recovering from a hip injury this past season and will spend the offseason rehabbing from it. November may be a bit soon for her to return to action assuming the Mystics want to be conservative with her recovery. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see her playing in Belgium this February.