‘They Woke Up A Monster’: Caitlin Clark Responds To Being Left Off Team USA; WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie Doesn’t Like It

On Saturday the announcement of Team USA’s women’s basketball team for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris was made, and the most notable name missing was Indiana Fever star and WNBA 2024 No. 1 overall pick Caitlin Clark.

The former Iowa Hawkeyes star was expected to land one of the twelve spots, but the selection committee, which features former Team USA coach and player Dawn Staley as well as three-time Olympic gold medalist Seimone Augustus, voted to not have Clark be a part of this particular team, instead opting for 41-year-old Diana Taurasi, who’ll be appearing in her record sixth Olympics, winning five gold medals previously. 

The decision sent shock waves through the sports world, as most believed Clark was a shoo-in. In retrospect, Clark easily could’ve been chosen, but who would she replace on the list? That’s the magic question. Everyone chosen is more than deserving, even the aforementioned Taurasi, who’s still performing at a high level at 41. As she’s done with everything she’s faced thus far this season, Clark took the snub in stride. The sharpshooter even texted her head coach Christie Sides this:

“They woke up a monster.”

Sounds like Clark intends to use being left off the team as motivation.

Clark Has Praise For Those Chosen

Speaking with reporters after practice on Sunday, Clark congratulated those who were chosen, but she vowed to work hard to hear her named called four years from now.

“I’m excited for the girls who are on the team,” Clark said. “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, not being on the team. 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,” Clark added. “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.”

It’s highly plausible that Clark will be a part of the next three to four to Olympic teams, so while this one may sting a little, she’ll be the face of the team going forward in four years. Rumors are Clark wasn’t chosen because of the fear of how her fans would react to her lack of playing time, which likely would have been very minuscule with the talent on the roster. 

In April Lisa Leslie Called For Clark To Make The Team

Following Clark being drafted No. 1 overall in April, WNBA legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie told ESPN this about Clark’s chances to be chosen for the squad:

“She better be on the Olympic team. We should not leave the country without her. She’s a bona fide baller. There’s no doubt she’s already one of the best players in the world.”

Leslie’s quote went viral then, and it definitely went viral again following Saturday’s announcement. Not only was Leslie speaking from a basketball standpoint, but also Clark’s ability to move the meter. With the team headed to Paris you’d think the league would want to have its most popular player there as well. 

But the committee obviously didn’t believe she was deserving this time around, and while they’re correct in many aspects, they also missed the mark as pertains to pushing women’s basketball globally in the biggest sporting event in the world. 

Hard to do that without Clark in Paris. 

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