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Caitlin Clark to head coach Christie Sides on not making Team USA, 'Hey coach, they woke a monster'

Screen Shot 2024-05-28 at 9.09.17 AMby:Kaiden Smith06/09/24


Many were surprised and disappointed when the 2024 USA Basketball Women’s Olympic Team roster was recently released and did not include Indiana Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark. The transcendent player who has brought an unprecedented amount of attention to women’s basketball from her college career at Iowa through the early stages of her WNBA career.

Fever head coach Christie Sides was also disappointed that her rookie didn’t make the cut. Recently sharing how Clark herself reacted to her omission from the Olympic Team and is even using the decision as motivation moving forward.

“We talked actually on the bus,” Sides said. “She got the call on the bus and she texted to let me know and I just tried to keep her spirits. I mean the thing she said was, ‘Hey coach, they woke a monster.’ Which I thought was awesome.”

Athletes often draw motivation from a variety of different places, as Clark not participating in the Paris Games will do just that as she looks to continue improving during her first season in the WNBA.

After becoming the all-time leading scorer across men’s and women’s college basketball, Clark has slowly but surely translated her game to the pro level with plenty of room to grow even more. Averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game through 12 games this season. Also leading the WNBA with 5.6 turnovers per game as she continues to polish up her game.

There’s no doubt that Clark would have brought more attention to Team USA had she made the team, playing a monumental role in increasing the viewership and overall dialogue of women’s basketball in an unparalleled way. But there’s also no question that the 22-year-old will likely have a strong opportunity to represent her country down the road.

“A little disappointed of course, she’s my player,” Sides admitted. “That’s the hardest team in the world to make, right? Like that is a tough team. She’s young, she’s gonna have so many opportunities in the future.”

A six-person panel decides who is selected for the U.S. Olympic team, who chose veteran guards like Diana Taurasi, Chelsea GrayJackie YoungKelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu over Clark. Who are all Olympic veterans and gold medalists except for Ionescu, as Clark would have became just the third WNBA rookie to make Team USA (not including Rebecca Lobo who made the 1996 Olympic team after graduating from UConn two years before the WNBA launched).

Women’s basketball has plenty of new fans thanks to Clark, fans who are dissipated that she will not be an Olympian this year while many who have closely followed the game are less surprised. But regardless, Clark will use the outcome as fuel to her fire. Fresh off of the strongest performance of her pro career after posting 30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals with seven made three-pointers in a win over the Washington Mystics on Friday.

“No disappointment. I think it just gives you something to work for,” Clark said on Sunday. “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, when four years comes back around, I can be there.”