The guard also sees the mini-camp as another opportunity to pursue a spot on the roster in the future.
When Jewell Loyd sees an opening on the court, the Storm star is relentless in her drive to score. Her time during the WNBA’s month-long break for the Rio Olympic Games in August will be no different.
Loyd, a 5-foot-10 combo guard, on July 11 was named to USA Basketball’s 11-player select team, whose purpose is to help prepare the national team for Rio.
But with floor leaders Lindsay Whalen, a two-time Olympian, and four-time Olympians Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi likely not playing in 2020 due to age, Loyd also sees the mini-camp as another opportunity to pursue a spot on the roster in the future.
“I’m waiting my turn,” said Loyd, who led the U.S. to a 2010 gold medal in the FIBA U17 World Championship. “Being in the pool gets me one step closer to reaching that goal.”
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First, though, Loyd and the Storm face Minnesota on the road Friday night at 5 p.m.
The Lynx (20-4) have already clinched a postseason berth and are on a five-game win streak headed into their game against Seattle (9-14).
Minnesota also has four players in Whalen, guard Seimone Augustus, guard Maya Moore and center Sylvia Fowles who’ll represent the U.S. in Rio.
But participating on the select team is an entirely different experience, says Loyd.
“Playing against a team of them at once is a little bit different,” Loyd said. “It’s going to be an experience to see the competition level. The things I have to do to get to that level, I get to see first-hand.”
Loyd will convene with USAB in Los Angeles to train alongside the national team, which includes WNBA teammates Bird and Breanna Stewart.
In addition to practices, the select team will play an exhibition against the national team Monday at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center.
Billed a “showcase,” the matchup is a pseudo All-Star Game for the WNBA and will air on NBA TV at 7 p.m. PT.
The WNBA cancelled its traditional summer classic due to the Olympic hiatus.
USA Basketball will also hold a four-team tournament on the East Coast before flying to Brazil on Aug. 2.
Olympic coach Geno Auriemma admitted there’s no clear replacement for Bird on the national-team level. She’s expected to be the starting point guard with Whalen and Taurasi also running the offense in America’s quest for a sixth straight gold medal.
“If it was (clear), they’d be on the team this year,” he said of a successor. “Somebody’s going to have to emerge between now and the World Championship in 2018.”