The USA Women’s Basketball roster was announced on Monday, July 21st, and three Phoenix Mercury players will be heading to Tokyo for a shot at gold in the upcoming Olympics. Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner are among 12 WNBA players selected to compete in Japan this summer. Taurasi and Griner were each honored as one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona last year, having become staples in the Metro Phoenix community and beyond.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the WNBA, so it’s only fitting that two of greatest players ever are set to lead the United States in Tokyo this summer. Taurasi – the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer – will be competing for an Olympic-record fifth gold medal. Seattle Storm point guard, Taurasi’s former college teammate and the WNBA’s all-time leader in assists, Sue Bird, will also be aiming for a fifth gold. Taurasi and Bird will join Teresa Edwards as the only women to compete in five Olympics as a part of Team USA.
Mercury make up 25 percent of USA roster
The Phoenix Mercury make up one quarter of the entire Team USA roster, joining the league-leading Seattle Storm as the only WNBA teams with three Olympic players. The main difference between the two organizations this season is that the Mercury are currently one game under .500, as they continue to deal with injuries. Most notably, Taurasi has only played four games for the Mercury this season, as she continues to recover from a chest injury.
Nevertheless, there is no doubting the talent of the three Phoenix superstars named to the roster. Taurasi’s resume speaks for itself, as she is arguably the most-decorated women’s basketball player of all-time. She’s won three WNBA championships, two WNBA MVP awards and a slew of other accolades throughout her distinguished career.
Diggins-Smith has been elite at every level. She was named Gatorade National High School Player of the Year in 2009. She was 2-time Big East Player of the Year and a two-time All-American at Notre Dame. And at the highest level, she is a 4-time WNBA All-Star and a 4-time All-WNBA selection in seven professional seasons.
Griner is one of the fiercest post players the league has ever seen. After turning in one of the most impressive college careers of all-time, she hasn’t missed a beat at the next level. In seven professional seasons, Griner is a six-time WNBA All-Defensive selection, a five-time All-WNBA selection, a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, a six-time WNBA All-Star, a two-time scoring champion and had led the league in blocks all seven seasons.
Team USA aims for seventh straight gold medal
The USA Women’s Basketball team has dominated world competition for decades, winning the last six Olympic gold medals. Joining Taurasi, Diggins-Smith and Griner on Team USA is Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Ariel Atkins, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray and Jewell Loyd. The team is coached by Dawn Staley.
Team USA will play the WNBA All-Stars on July 14th before two tune-up games against Australia and Nigeria. They are scheduled to kick off their quest for gold against host-nation Japan on July 30th.