• AFP-Jiji


Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will each seek a fifth consecutive gold medal in Tokyo on the six-time defending Olympic champion U.S. women’s basketball squad named Monday.

Players on U.S. coach Dawn Staley’s 12-woman roster, including guards Bird and Taurasi, have a combined 15 Olympic and 19 Basketball World Cup titles while six players will be competing in their first Olympics.

“USA Basketball has never been in a better place,” said Staley, who claimed three gold medals as a player and served as an assistant coach on two other U.S. Olympic teams.

“I’m honored to be the coach of such an amazing collection of talented women.”

The U.S. women’s basketball team is on a 49-game Olympic win streak that began in the 1992 bronze medal game and is 66-3 all-time in Olympic competition with eight of the past nine gold medals.

If one of the most dominant teams in Olympic history can win a seventh straight gold medal in August, it will match the U.S. men’s basketball run from 1936-1968 for the most consecutive Olympic team victories in all sports by men or women.

The U.S. women, ranked number one in the world, qualified for Tokyo by winning the 2018 FIBA World Cup, their third world title in a row and fifth in six tries.

Bird, who plays for the Women’s NBA’s Seattle Storm, and Taurasi, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, will join only six men or women who have played in five Olympics, including four-time Olympic champion Teresa Edwards of the United States from 1984-2000.

The U.S. roster also includes three-time Olympic champion Sylvia Fowles and three-time world champion Tina Charles.

Brittney Griner of Phoenix and Breanna Stewart of Seattle, two-time world champions, each return from the 2016 Rio Olympic champions in search of a second Olympic gold.

World champions seeking a first Olympic gold include Jewell Loyd and A’ja Wilson while Olympic team newcomers include Ariel Atkins, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Chelsea Gray.

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