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Diana Taurasi defends USA Basketball after Caitlin Clark snub: ‘Always going to be controversy’

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Diana Taurasi is heading to her sixth Olympics later this year, representing Team USA on the court at age 42. 

But since the 12-woman roster was made official, who was left off the list has been the topic of conversation, specifically Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark. 

Many believed Clark was worthy of being among the 12 heading to Paris in a couple of months. However, Taurasi defended the decision by USA Basketball, citing them wanting to pick the best 12 players to make up the perfect team rather than simply the 12 best individuals. 

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Diana Taurasi free throw

Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury shoots a free throw against the Dallas Wings during a Commissioner’s Cup game on June 9, 2024, at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

“You know, whenever you’re trying to cut down to 12 players from this amazing pool of players, there’s always going to be controversy,” Taurasi said, via Yahoo Sports. “There’s always going to be names like, ‘How’d that person not make it?’ I think you see that with All-Star teams, and the Olympic team really is just a collection of the best players. 

“At the end of the day, USA Basketball always has a firm grasp of what they need as a team. I think people kind of lose track of no matter what, you have to make sure that 12 players fit to form the best team – not necessarily the best players. 

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“So, whatever the 12 are, I think USA Basketball has always done a great job putting that talent together.”

Joining Taurasi on the final roster are Kahleah Copper, A’Ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and Sabrina Ionescu. 

Caitlin Clark takes the ball up

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever handles the ball against the Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 7, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Clark being snubbed has led to tons of debate on social media and sports talk television and radio shows, but the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA Draft took it in stride. 

“I’m excited for the girls who are on the team. I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could’ve gone either way – me being on the team, me not being on the team,” she said, via The Athletic. “So, I’m excited for them. I’m going to be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics. So, yeah, it’ll be fun to watch them. 

“No disappointment. I think it just gives you something to work for. That’s a dream. Hopefully, one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. And hopefully in four years, when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

The next chance Clark will have would be in 2028, when the Summer Olympics returns to Los Angeles. 

Diana Taurasi looks up on court

Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury against the Storm at Climate Pledge Arena on June 4, 2024, in Seattle. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, Taurasi is looking to keep the gold streak going for Team USA, as she has won five straight gold medals in the Olympics since her first time representing her country in Athens in 2004. 

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