Team USA has announced its team for the 2022 Women’s World Cup in Australia. The women’s national team is headlined by recently crowned WNBA champions A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and former WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart. Team USA is looking to win its fourth consecutive World Cup title.
Ariel Atkins and Jewell Loyd are the only other Team USA players besides Wilson, Gray, and Stewart that will play in the World Cup that also played on the Tokyo Olympics teams. Plum will play on her second World Cup team after leading Team USA to Olympic gold with the 3×3 group. Stewie will play on her third World Cup team after winning World Cup MVP in 2018. Wilson and Loyd were members of the 2018 World Cup team.
The World Cup team will be the first in over 20 years not to feature Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi on the roster.
The two WNBA and UConn legends led Team USA to five of its seven consecutive Olympic gold medals and a combined nine World Cup medals. Sylvia Fowles and Tina Charles will also be left off Team USA due to retirement or moving on from national team obligations. Brittney Griner is another notable absence while the United States looks to negotiate her release from Russian prison due to illegal drug possession.
“After we won gold, [Bird] was like, ‘All right, it’s your turn now,'” Wilson told ESPN about Bird passing the Team USA torch, per ESPN. “I’m like, ‘Huh?’ When you really think about it, it’s me and Stewie. Everyone’s gone.”
“I don’t know who’s going to be talking in the timeouts now,” Wilson followed up. “We’ll be figuring it out. But, no, it’s a great thing. They’ve laid a great foundation for us to step in as the next-gen to carry the torch. I am probably terrified, but I’m excited as well just to get back out there with other greats. Let’s go get this gold.”
Shakira Austin, Kahleah Copper, Sabrina Ionescu, Brionna Jones, and Betnijah Laney are Team USA’s newest members for the Olympics or World Cup. Austin is the youngest member of the team and the only player to make it amongst her rookie class and college phenom Aliyah Boston.
The USA Basketball Women’s National Team Committee selected the roster, which Connecticut Sun president Jen Rizzotti chairs.
“We’re in a little bit of a transition,” Stewart said. “But it really gives an opportunity for young players to come in and show what they’ve got and help take USA Basketball to the next level — and understand that everybody wants to beat us.
“Nobody wants us to win gold. And still, our goal every time that we are playing is to win the entire thing.”
God is so great to me🥺I made the USA World Cup Team bro….BLESSED🤍— Shakira Austin✨ (@Theylove_kira) September 20, 2022
Boston, Diamond DeShields, Stefanie Dolson, Rhyne Howard, NaLyssa Smith, and Jackie Young are amongst the most significant final cuts from the women’s national team roster.
“We have been eagerly anticipating the 2022 FIBA World Cup and welcome the opportunities and challenges this competition presents as we face the world’s best teams,” 2021-24 national team head coach Cheryl Reeve said in a news release. “The U.S. roster features some of our game’s brightest stars, and I’m excited to lead this team with the goal of winning a fourth consecutive World Cup for the USA. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who was part of our highly competitive training camp and hope to work with many of them again in the future.”
The Women’s World Cup runs Sept. 22-Oct. 1 in Sydney. Team USA starts group stage play against Belgium on Wednesday at 9:30 P.M. E.T.