As Team USA prepares to fly across the Atlantic Ocean for the Summer Olympics, being held at host city, Tokyo, they nibbled on how competition may look like as they were defeated by the WNBA All-Star’s Wednesday night.
Leading both teams with 26 points, Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale , who expects to be one of the candidates for the 2024 U.S. Olympic team, helped Team WNBA pull away in the fourth quarter to win, 93-85. With the level of talent of both squads, either team showcased they are both deserving to make the trip to Japan for a chance to win gold.
Team USA Saw This as a Learning Experience
However, the group that will make the trip was announced a month prior by USA Basketball, took this exhibition against their WNBA counterparts as a way to improve team chemistry. Making her fifth Olympics and one of the teams leaders Seattle’s Sue Bird said the matchup was a great way to find out find out what areas team has to work on moving forward.
This isn’t this first exhibition the national team will participate in. This upcoming weekend Team USA will face off against Nigeria and Australia in Las Vegas, as Head Coach Dawn Staley prepares for one the teams toughest competitors, Japan, who will they face in the group stages.
Heading into a unfamiliar environment in about a week, veteran players who have experienced the opportunity to represent their national flag on the basketball court will now have to reverberate to times of playing competitive basketball without fans, as news of Japan’s state of emergency was announced early last week.
Veterans of the team Bird and Diana Taurasi are familiar on how the process of the Olympics naturally work however, they are unsure what to tell new Olympians on the teams because of COVID precautions as they jokingly laughed at their unknown living arrangements once they reach to Tokyo.
Group stages for the Olympics Games will start on Friday July 23.