Sparks coach Derek Fisher slams move to leave Nneka Ogwumike off Olympics roster: ‘We’re pissed’
Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike missed the cut once again for Team USA’s roster for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, and coach Derek Fisher isn’t happy about it.
Ogwumike, who has now been left off three straight Olympic teams, attended every Team USA minicamp and led them in scoring at the team’s most recent qualifier. Fisher said Tuesday that Ogwumike ws promoted and pushed as one of the eight core players for the team, too.
“We’re pissed, honestly,” Fisher said Tuesday, via the OC Register.
Ogwumike left off Team USA roster
Ogwumike, the six-time WNBA All-Star and former league MVP, was left off the official team roster for the upcoming Games on Monday. Team USA coach Dawn Staley cited Ogwumike’s health as a concern and why she was left off the roster, as she had suffered a knee sprain earlier this month.
“Breaks my heart that Nneka isn’t on this team,” Staley said. “Having to make a decision today, if we had to make a decision a month from now, I’m sure she’d be healthy. This was one of the things she wanted to do.”
Fisher, though, isn’t having that logic. Not only would Ogwumike be available to play by the time Team USA plays its first game in Tokyo on July 27, but Diana Taurasi still made the roster despite suffering a fractured sternum last month. Taurasi has yet to play a game for the Phoenix Mercury this season because of that injury.
“You can throw the injury out there, I’m calling BS on that one too,” Fisher said, via SB Nation’s Brady Klopfer. “The timeline doesn’t add up.”
While it’s one thing to leave her off the roster, Fisher said, it’s another that Ogwumike was with the team and a star player for them while qualifying for the Games.
She has played in 59 games throughout her career for Team USA and helped them win gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 FIBA World Cup.
“I think that’s the most frustrating and disappointing part, that’s the part that makes you angry the most,” Fisher said, via the OC Register. “I don’t know what else a player has to do … No way you can tell me you can put a team together and leave Nneka off, and then try to say that it makes sense, that it adds up — because it doesn’t.”
Even though plenty are outraged about the decision — including journalists, her sister Chiney and others — Fisher said she’s handling it well.
“I don’t know how you keep taking it on the chin,” he said, via the OC Register. “I don’t know how you keep taking the high road. That’s what makes her unique and really special because she does have that inner strength and fortitude.”
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