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Five former UConn women’s basketball stars make USA Olympic roster

As is tradition with USA women’s hoops, former Huskies will make up nearly half the squad in Tokyo.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Five former UConn women’s basketball stars are heading to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics as part of the USA Basketball roster: Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Breanna Stewart, and Diana Taurasi. The 12-player squad was announced live on NBC’s Today Show on Monday.

Bird and Taurasi will head to the Olympics for the fifth (and likely final) time in their careers in search of a fifth gold medal. Previously, the two helped Team USA come out on top in 2016 (Rio de Janeiro), London (2012), Beijing (2008), and Athens (2004). They are just the seventh and eighth basketball players ever to compete in five Olympics and just the second and third from the US, joining Teresa Edwards (1984-2000).

This will be Charles’ third consecutive Olympics while Stewart will head to her second as one of the first names on the roster after being a surprise, controversial choice in 2016 when then-USA head coach Geno Auriemma took her over Candace Parker.

Collier is a somewhat unexpected selection considering she’s rarely played for the senior national team. Previously, the only major competition Collier has been on the roster for was the 2019 AmeriCup. She also played seven games for Team USA in Nov. 2019 but has since only been part of training camps.

The rest of the roster includes Ariel Atkins, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, and A’ja Wilson. Stef Dolson and Katie Lou Samuelson are also expected to head to Tokyo after helping the USA 3x3 team qualify, though the roster has not yet been officially announced.

The XXXII Olympic Games kick off on July 23 but the basketball competition doesn’t begin until July 26. It will run until Aug. 8 with all the games held at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, just outside Tokyo.

As a team, USA Basketball is 66-3 in the Olympics and has won its last 49 games in the competition dating back to 1992. Since then, the US squad has come home with the last six gold medals.