Caitlin Clark Fans Target Dawn Staley After Olympics Snub

Dawn Staley

Getty Head coach Dawn Staley of the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Current South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is getting heat from Caitlin Clark fans on social media after the Indiana Fever rookie didn’t make the U.S. Olympics women’s basketball roster.

Staley is one of five members of the Olympic selection committee, and some are blaming the Gamecocks coach for Clark’s exclusion. “The women’s basketball committee selects the roster,” per NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“This includes South Carolina coach and former U.S. coach Dawn Staley, LSU assistant Seimone Augustus, Old Dominion coach Delisha Milton-Jones, Connecticut Sun president Jennifer Rizzotti and WNBA head of league operations Bethany Donaphin.”

Reactions to Clark’s not making the 12-person squad were varied, but many of her fans came out to blame Staley, specifically.

Caitlin Clark Fans Target Dawn Staley After Olympics Roster Is Revealed

Staley’s Gamecocks went undefeated during the 2023-24 season, which culminated in them beating Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NCAA women’s national championship. Perhaps the sting of Iowa’s 87-75 loss to South Carolina in the finals still smarts. Perhaps not. Regardless, many fans of Clark took to social media to throw misplaced vitriol at Staley.

“Dawn Staley DOES NOT like Caitlin Clark’s fans,” one X user wrote.

Some went after all five members of the selection committee:

Others threw out the bizarre and misguided notion that Clark’s race was a factor in the decision to leave the Fever rookie off the team.

That notion in particular feels odd because several Caucasian players, including Breanna Stewart, Kelsey Plum, Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu, are all on the 2024 Olympics roster.

Still, there were plenty of comments in support and defense of Staley:

Those suggesting Staley had a role in purposefully keeping Clark off the Olympics squad are misguided.

Staley is a legend in her own right, both as a player and as a coach. She won three Gold medals as a player for the United States. She also served as coach of the last U.S. women’s basketball team to win Olympic gold in the Tokyo games, in 2020.

Staley’s Gamecocks have won three NCAA titles under her tutelage and she is a four-time Naismith Coach of the Year. Her credentials are impeccable, and she also has a strong history of supporting Clark publicly.

Clark Has Since Been Named Alternate for Olympic Team

After South Carolina beat Iowa in the natty this year, Staley took a moment to recognize and thank Clark for the attention the Fever rookie has brought to the game. she has also priased Clark on multiple occasions before and after that moment.

“Caitlin Clark is the sole reason why viewership has shot through the roof for our game — the sole reason,” Staley said in an April appearance on 670 The Score’s Bernstein & Holmes.

“When I think about Caitlin Clark, I do think she’s one of the greatest. Like she’s the greatest of her time. She’s the greatest of her time. I want women’s basketball to grow, and I’m not too shy about saying why it grows. She’s made it grow over the past two years,” Staley added.

Since the initial 12-person team was announced, Clark has been announced as an alternate for the team.

“Caitlin Clark and Brionna Jones are top of the alternates list for Team USA if there is needed to be a replacement,” Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel TV’s “Run It Back.”

Current members of the 2024 Olympics squad include: Five-time gold medalist Diana Taurasi, Kahleah Copper and Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty, Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd, A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of the Las Vegas Aces and Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas.

Gray has yet to play a game during the WNBA’s 2024 season, as she’s recovering from a foot injury. If her foot doesn’t heal in time, don’t be surprised if Clark winds up on the team after all.