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Women’s sports world reacts to Texas school shooting

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert honored the victims of the shooting ahead of Tuesday’s Chicago Sky game. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the wake of a school shooting Tuesday in Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead, athletes and others from the women’s sports world expressed their grief and outrage over the tragedy.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert opened a pregame ceremony meant to celebrate the Chicago Sky’s championship with a somber moment in which she offered “heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and those affected.”

Sky coach and general manger James Wade addressed the shooting in a press conference.

“It’s just tough. It’s tough,” Wade said. “You have second and third and fourth graders… They don’t deserve to be in situations where you don’t get the chance to see tomorrow.”

The Washington Mystics held a media blackout following their game to focus attention on the tragedy, while the Dallas Wings dedicated their game to the city of Uvalde, where the shooting occurred.

Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale pointed out after the game that the children who died in the shooting were in their last week of school and preparing for summer vacation.

“Now everything is just ruined because gun laws and people not caring about that,” she said. “Worrying about abortion when you should be worried about guns. It’s so easy, an 18-year-old having a gun – he probably just went to go buy it because the laws are so free in Texas. I mean, something has to change. We can’t keep saying ‘Rest in peace’ to people, every weekend, every day, every other day.

“Yes we’re playing sports and stuff too. But that’s heavy on our hearts because these are kids. This could be our future kids…It’s really hard to focus on other stuff. It’s not fair to kids growing up.”

Wings guard Marina Mabrey called the societal malaise over gun violence “absolutely ridiculous.”

“When does it stop, when do we do something about it? How many times are we just going to talk about it with nobody making any moves?” she questioned.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was in tears when asked about the shooting after her team’s game.

“As a nation, it just feels like to be supposedly world leaders and to miss so badly in taking care of out people, we’re sickened by it,” she said. “I have a 7-year-old that goes to school and I said to my wife, ‘It’s not if, it’s when is it gonna happen.’ It’s nonsensical. My kid got out of the car today and I ran and hugged him. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine what those families go through.

“And it’s not that hard. It’s not about Democrats, Republicans or any other people. It’s about people. And understanding that we don’t need to have the type of guns [used].”

Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner wrote on Twitter that “something has to change.”

She expanded on those sentiments in a postgame press conference Wednesday.

“I know this is business as usual,” she said. “We experience shootings, go to work, go to school the next day. We don’t process because it’s so normalized.”

She then listed the names of some of the students who were killed.

“Their families will never talk to them again,” she said. “We have a serious issue. There are 535 people in Congress. There are 330 million people in the U.S. It shouldn’t be left or right. This shouldn’t be normalized.”

Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart called it “a parent’s worst nightmare” on her Twitter account.

“Enough is enough,” she wrote. “No more gun violence, no more terrorism. This is sickening.”

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley expressed her dismay at the shooting, which came one week after 10 people were killed in a Buffalo supermarket.

“Can’t put my phone down without coming back to see there’s yet another school shooting,” she wrote. “Praying the senselessness ceases NOW like today. May the Lord hold and keep the families of the deceased.”

South Carolina star Aliyah Boston tweeted that “parents should feel comfortable sending their CHILDREN to school knowing they will see them later in the day.”

UConn star Paige Bueckers called the situation “heartbreaking.”

Portland Thorns and USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn took to Twitter on Thursday to echo the comments made by Megan Rapinoe following OL Reign’s match Wednesday night. In her comments, Rapinoe called the lack of gun control in the United States the “definition of insanity.”

“Megan Rapinoe is right, this is crazy,” Sauerbrunn wrote. “Sandy Hook. Buffalo. Uvalde. So many others. Love to those kids, their families and their communities.

“How long do we need to be haunted, horrified and heartbroken?”

The Houston Dash also issued a statement.

Dash forward Rachel Daly called the shooting “truly devastating and heartbreaking.”

“When will all this end?” she wrote.

San Diego Wave defender Abby Dahlkemper tweeted in response to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s post on the shooting, telling the minority leader to “shove this tweet up your butt Mitch McConnell and actually do something about it.”

Wave forward Alex Morgan tweeted that she is “sickened by what happened to these children.”

Racing Louisville forward Jessica McDonald, who has a son in the fourth grade, wrote that she “could not imagine being one of the parents who’s child didn’t come home from school.”

Washington Spirit coach Kris Ward tweeted that the situation has “been a lot.”

“At times like these it is difficult for me to even attempt to find words, especially words that haven’t already been stated more eloquently elsewhere,” he wrote. “Just know that we are in it too.”

Tennis star Serena Williams said that she is “truly heartbroken by these heinous shootings.”

“I keep praying for the victims and people affected by these crimes,” she wrote on Twitter.

Another tennis icon in Billie Jean King also called for action.

“These shootings regularly happen in the U.S. & very rarely elsewhere,” she wrote.

Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin called for the United States to change its gun laws.

“How heartbreaking do these tragedies have to be? How extreme? How close to your home? To your school? To your kids?” she wrote. “For the USA to be known first and foremost for our gun laws is absurd and terrifying.”

USA Women’s Basketball Releases Olympic Roster, Explains Clark’s Omission

USA Women's Basketball's Diana Taurasi #12, Brittney Griner #15 and Sabrina Ionescu #6 at April's National Team Training Camp
All the players tapped for this year's Olympic roster have senior national team experience. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

USA Women's Basketball announced its official Olympic roster on Tuesday, with officials noting that Caitlin Clark’s lack of national team experience played a key role in her omission.

Selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti said that the committee evaluated players according to a set of on-court criteria they were given.

"When you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes," she told reporters on Tuesday. "Then sometimes it comes down to position, style of play for [coach Cheryl Reeve] and then sometimes a vote."

Three first-time Olympians made the squad: Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu, and Kahleah Copper. Additionally, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum will make the switch to the national 5-on-5 team after winning gold in the inaugural 3×3 competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Age, Rizzotti said, was "never brought up" in player selection discussions. It’s the first time in Olympic history that a USA Women’s Basketball 5-on-5 team will travel to the Games without a single player under 26 years old.

Rizzotti commented that all the players tapped for this year's Olympic roster have senior national team experience, something that Clark does not have.

"She's certainly going to continue to get better and better," USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley added. "Really hope that she's a big part of our future going forward."

Rizzotti said it would have been "irresponsible" to base roster decisions on anything outside of a basketball context. Marketing and popularity were not on the selection committee’s list of criteria. 

"It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team," Rizzotti said. "Because it wasn't the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the US. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl."

Clark expressed that she'll be using what some consider a snub as fuel for a run at the 2028 Olympic team. 

"I think it just gives you something to work for," Clark told media after practice Sunday. "It's a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it's just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there."

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" on Expert Adjacent

Arsenal Women Confirm US Tour, Preseason Friendlies

Arsenal's Lotte Wubben-Moy battles with Mayra Ramirez of Chelsea at the 2023/24 FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup Final
The last time Chelsea and Arsenal faced off, the Gunners took home the FA Women's League Cup. (Copa/Getty Images)

Arsenal announced on Monday that it will join Chelsea for a series of preseason friendlies in the US in August. 

Arsenal will be based in Washington, DC from August 15th through August 26th. The Gunners are scheduled to play the Washington Spirit on August 18th, followed by a match with fellow WSL team Chelsea on August 25th. It’s the first time that the two London clubs will meet each other on this side of the Atlantic. 

Chelsea had previously announced their game against Gotham FC, confirming reports from ESPN that surfaced last month.

"We always want to create the best conditions for our teams to prepare and perform at their best in pre-season," said Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar in a statement. "This gives our players an opportunity to play and train in a new environment, in front of our supporters around the world."

Both Arsenal and Chelsea tout rosters full of international talent — formidable opponents for two equally stacked NWSL teams gearing up for postseason action. Arsenal is home to accomplished England nationals Leah Williamson, Beth Mead, and backheel goal-scorer Alessia Russo alongside Ireland captain Katie McCabe and USWNT defender Emily Fox.

The games are set to be streamed live for free on DAZN.

Arsenal's US tour builds off of a trip to Melbourne, Australia at the tail end of the 2023/24 season, where they beat A-League All Stars women 1-0 in front of 42,120 fans.

US Women Defeat NC Courage to Claim $1 Million TST Prize

TST team US Women celebrate a semifinal win
USWNT legend Heather O’Reilly led the 7-on-7 side to victory at Monday's TST championship. (The Soccer Tournament)

The US Women 7-on-7 team won the first-ever edition of The Soccer Tournament’s women’s bracket, taking home the $1 million prize.

The TST concluded on Monday, with Ali Krieger and Heather O’Reilly leading the US Women past the North Carolina Courage’s 7-on-7 team to a 6-3 victory.

"I mean, at that moment, you're not thinking right? Like, I just saw the ball come to me and i was able to put it in the back of the net," said game-winning goal-scorer Talia DellaPeruta. "And it was just... everything kind of stopped for a second. When it went in, I just could not believe it. Like, that was the winning goal, everything that we had worked for this whole weekend.

"I'm just so grateful that I can contribute in that way and to be surrounded by such legends on the field. I mean, to be able to get us over that line, it's the best feeling I've ever felt. This is the best day ever."

Each team member will take home $40,000, with the winnings split equally amongst the 25-person group. First launched in 2023, TST is now the world’s highest-stakes women’s soccer tournament, offering equal $1 million prizes for both the men’s and women’s champions.

"Every single person, staff, players — we deserve it. One million dollars!" O'Reilly said in a team huddle after the victory.

USA Basketball Reportedly Finalizes 2024 Olympic Roster

Jewell Loyd #4 of the United States and Breanna Stewart #10 of the United States celebrate the teams victory during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Japan V USA basketball final
This will be the first year since 1976 that USA Women's Basketball travels to the Summer Games without a single player under 26 years old. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

The women’s basketball roster for the Paris Olympics has reportedly been decided, with star WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark left off the 12-player roster.

Three first-time Olympians are slated to join the team: the Sun's Alyssa Thomas, the Mercury's Kahleah Copper, and the Liberty's Sabrina Ionescu. Meanwhile Clark, Brionna Jones, and Aliyah Boston are reportedly on the short-list for an injury replacement should any of the rostered players not make it to Paris, according to The Athletic.

Chelsea Gray and Brittney Griner, who were both named to the team, are currently in the process of returning from injury.

"I'm excited for the girls that are on the team," Clark told reporters Sunday. "I know it's the most competitive team in the world and I know it could have gone either way — me being on the team or me not being on the team. I'm going to be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics, so it will be fun to watch them.

"Honestly, no disappointment. It just gives me something to work for — it's a dream... Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there."

The reported Olympic lineup leans heavily on its veterans, with Diana Taurasi preparing for her sixth Olympic Games — a new all-time international basketball record. In fact, not a single player under the age of 26 was listed, a noteworthy departure from previous years.

In every Olympic roster dating back to 1976, at least two players under the age of 25 made it onto the US women's basketball team. Nancy Lieberman, the youngest player to ever compete for the US Olympic basketball team, was just 18 when she joined the 1976 Summer Games. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, WNBA stars Napheesa Collier and A’ja Wilson were both rostered at 24 years old.

Clark said USA Basketball officials called to tell her the news before it reached the press, the same approach they used for all other Olympic hopefuls. But according to Fever head coach Christie Sides, what some might see as a snub could also act as the catalyst for improved performance in the future.

"The thing she said was, 'Hey coach, they woke a monster,' which I thought was awesome," Sides said.

Clark also expressed excitement about the potential to get some much-needed rest during the Olympic break.

"Absolutely, it's going to be really nice," Clark said. "I've loved competing every single second. But it's going to be a great month for my body to get rest, get healthy and just get a little time away from basketball and the craziness of everything that's been going on. And just find some peace and quiet for myself.

"But then additionally, it's a great opportunity for us to work and get better. A great opportunity for myself to get in the weight room. To work on the court, at things that I want to get better at that I maybe didn't have time [to] going from college to the pro season."

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