Women's Basketball Preview

The U.S. women’s basketball team is a six-time defending Olympic champion and has won eight of the past nine Olympic gold medals. Additionally, the women’s squad is seeking its seventh straight gold medal, a feat only one other traditional team sport has accomplished — the U.S. men’s basketball teams from 1936-1968. 

The U.S. women, No. 1 in the world in the FIBA World Ranking, ride a 49-game Olympic winning streak into the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, boast an all-time 66-3 win-loss record at the Games and have won a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal in 10 appearances since women’s basketball was introduced to the Olympic program in 1976. The team’s 49-0 Olympic winning streak dates to the 1992 bronze-medal game.

The team earned its 2020 Olympics berth by winning the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup. However, FIBA required the U.S. and host Japan to compete in the qualifying process, which is why the U.S. competed in the 2019 AmeriCup, 2019 Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament and 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The Olympic women’s basketball tournament will consist of 12 nations, some of which have medaled in recent Olympic Games, while others advanced to the 2020 field for the first time in history. Spain (silver) and Serbia (bronze) joined the U.S. on the podium in 2016, and in 2012 it was France (silver) and Australia (bronze) rounding out the medalists. Those teams will join Canada, Belgium, China, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea and Puerto Rico in the Olympic tournament. Belgium and Puerto Rico will be making their Olympic debuts.

Updated on July 12, 2021. For more information, contact the sport press officer

• U.S. coach Dawn Staley will look to recreate the Olympic success she had as a player and an assistant coach. Staley was a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000 and 2004) as an athlete, and was voted by all U.S. team captains in 2004 to carry the United States flag and lead Team USA’s delegation into the Opening Ceremony at the Athens Games. Staley was a two-time assistant coach (2008 and 2016) for gold-medal winning teams, and will become the third player-turned-head-coach in U.S. Olympic women’s basketball history, following Pat Summitt and Anne Donovan. 

• The 2019-20 U.S. women’s national team took advantage of an expanded training program, and included five segments of training, as well as three FIBA-sanctioned events. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the final two segments of training in 2020 never took place. 

• Since first gathering for training camp in September 2019 ahead of the 2019 AmeriCup, the U.S. earned a combined 17-1 record, which includes a 6-0 mark and gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup in Puerto Rico, a 3-0 record at the FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Argentina, a 3-0 mark at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia and a 5-1 slate in exhibition games against college teams. The six-game college tour in markets across the country saw a combined attendance of 51,495 fans cheering on the U.S. squad. Over the 18 games, 29 different national team athletes donned the red, white and blue, headed up by three-time Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles, who competed in each of the 18 games.

Sue Bird, 40, is still going strong as she eyes a record fifth straight gold medal in Tokyo. One of the most decorated players in women’s basketball history, Bird is 142-6 in games played with USA Basketball all time, winning four World Cups and one FIBA Americas Championship in addition to her Olympic golds. Bird is an 11-time WNBA All-Star and four-time champion.

Sylvia Fowles, 35, most recently helped the U.S. to the 2019 AmeriCup title, winning tournament MVP honors by averaging team highs of 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Fowles has also won three Olympic gold medals and a World Cup in 2010. The 2017 WNBA MVP and two-time Finals MVP is a six-time All-Star and two-time league champion.

Brittney Griner, 30, got her first taste of the Olympic Games in 2016. The Baylor alum became just the 11th player in history to win an Olympic gold medal, World Cup gold medal, WNBA championship and NCAA championship. Griner is a six-time WNBA All-Star and 2014 league champion.

Breanna Stewart, 26, already has an Olympic gold medal from 2016, World Cup titles from 2014 and 2018 along with numerous gold medals from international youth tournaments. Stewart was MVP of the 2018 World Cup, shooting 58 percent from the field. Stewart was WNBA MVP in 2018 and has two Finals MVPs in championships won with the Seattle Storm.

Diana Taurasi, 39, could be playing in her final Olympic Games along with her teammate and friend Sue Bird, although neither one has announced any plans to retire anytime soon. Taurasi has been playing with USA Basketball since 2001 and is a four-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. The 2009 WNBA MVP is a nine-time All-Star and three-time WNBA champion. Like Bird, she's going for a record fifth Olympic gold medal to go with World Cup wins in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

A’ja Wilson, 24, will be making her Olympic debut in Tokyo but helped the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2018 World Cup. Wilson was the youngest member of that team and averaged 10 points and 4 assists per game. She has yet to be on the losing side in 47 games wearing red, white and blue. Wilson has become one of the brightest young stars of the WNBA with the Las Vegas Aces and won the 2020 league MVP award.

• July 27, 2021: The U.S. women tip off in Olympic competition against Nigeria in Group B action
• July 30, 2021: U.S. vs Japan (Group B)
• August 2, 2021: U.S. vs France (Group B)
• August 4, 2021: The knockout stage begins with the quarterfinals
• August 7, 2021: Bronze-medal game
• August 8, 2021: Gold-medal game