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And since 1996, the Americans have won a gold medal in every world competition except for the 2006 FIBA World Championship, when they took the bronze.
Since the WNBA was created 22 years ago, things have changed considerably for women’s professional basketball players, especially American ones.
But their participation — as well as Lindsay Whalen’s and Seimone Augustus’ until this year’s World Cup — also meant that other younger guards couldn’t get a chance to play in a World Cup or Olympic Games.
Because of that, some American guards who play overseas in the winter have decided to acquire citizenship and play for other countries.
The world tournaments are currently held every even-numbered year.
If players were limited to three world tournaments, there could be a clearer transition of eras based on position.In the 1996, 20 Olympics, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley were the foundational trio while younger players like Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings had to wait their turn.And in 2008, 20, Bird, Taurasi and Catchings were the next foundational trio behind Team USA and their dominance in world competition.The professional basketball season overseas typically happens during the winter and early spring, but the WNBA and most international competition happens in the summer.
Pay, both in the WNBA and most pro leagues, isn’t particularly high, so players are playing year-round. Ultimately, the rise of the WNBA has developed a new generation of WNBA players and foundational trios for Team USA. To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads.