Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart are arguably the three most accomplished players in the WNBA era yet to play in the Olympics.
(Yes, Stewart hasn’t played a pro game yet, but her NCAA record is unmatched)
That should all change in August, when the trio plus nine Americans who already own gold medals make up Team USA in Rio.
Who does that leave as the best players in the WNBA’s 19 seasons not to play at the Olympics?
Seven All-WNBA first-team players haven’t made an Olympic team:
1999, 2000 — Ticha Penicheiro
2001 — Merlakia Jones
2005, 2007 — Deanna Nolan
2006 — Katie Douglas
2008 — Sophia Young
2014 — Skylar Diggins
2015 — DeWanna Bonner
Penicheiro is Portuguese, and her national team never qualified for the Olympics.
Jones made the first three WNBA All-Star Games in 1999, 2000 and 2001, but she was not one of six alternates for the 2000 Olympic team.
Nolan and Douglas were on the 21-woman U.S. national team for 2007-08 but not the 12-woman roster in Beijing. In fact, Nolan tried out for the Russian Olympic team in 2008 but didn’t make it (unlike Becky Hammon).
Young was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, became a U.S. citizen in 2011 and was among 21 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
Diggins was one of the final four cuts for the 2014 World Championship team and was among 25 finalists for the Rio team but didn’t make it. She’s coming back from a June 28 torn ACL.
Bonner was not among the 25 finalists for the Rio Olympic team.
The WNBA players with the most All-Star nods not to make an Olympic team:
7 — Nykesha Sales (1999-2006)
6 — Taj McWilliams-Franklin (1999-2001, 2005-07)
5 — Katie Douglas (2006-07, ’09, ’11, ’14)
5 — Candice Dupree (2006-07, ’09, ’14-15)
Sales was one of six alternates for the 2000 Olympic team.
There’s no widespread mention of McWilliams-Franklin being in the running for an Olympic spot in 2000, 2004 or 2008. Her best WNBA seasons were in the middle of an Olympic cycle in 2005 and 2006.
Dupree made the 2014 World Championship team and was among 25 finalists for the Rio Olympic team.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Merlakia Jones did not make a WNBA All-Star team.