After the Team USA won its seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal, Dawn Staley told the media in Tokyo that she was done as the head coach.
Away from the podium, Staley told the Star Tribune's Jim Souhan that Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve — an assistant for Team USA for the past two Olympics as well as multiple world championships — would be the logical successor.
Assuming what Staley said is true — although Reeve is convinced the University of South Carolina coach and Hall of Fame point guard might ultimately decide to stay in the position — Team USA will be looking for a new coach, with the 2022 FIBA World Cup in Australia looming.
Monday afternoon — back in Minnesota, trying to adjust to the 14-hour time change, trying to, as she said, remember the names of her Lynx players — Reeve was noncommittal about whether it is a job she would be interested in.
There are a lot of good coaches who would thrive in the position, she said. But, with the makeup of the team and even USA Basketball in the offing, there will be challenges.
"I appreciate Dawn's confidence," Reeve said. "At the same time, I think Dawn should keep the team."
Reeve, whose association with USA Basketball is years old, said she has enjoyed the opportunity. She said she loved her experience with University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and with Staley in Tokyo. That she has been able to experience winning gold medals with so many of her own players — Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles were on the 2016 team, Fowles and Napheesa Collier this year — has made it that much more special.
But it does not appear Reeve is about to lobby for the position.
One thing she does feel strongly about is that, should a new coach be named, that coach should come from the WNBA. Until now, the head job has been held by college coaches.
"It's all WNBA players [on the roster]," Reeve said. "I would like to see a WNBA coach lead the next team if Dawn is truly done. That's probably the extent of what I'd say on it.''
It is a job with a lot of opportunity, and a lot of pressure.
The expectations that come with coaching either the men's or women's team is immense. The standard that has been set for the women's team while winning 55 consecutive Olympic games and seven consecutive gold medals is such that, at times, winning is more of a relief than a celebration.
- Reeve said the Lynx will return to practice Wednesday with a group that includes Canadian Olympic team members Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton. But Collier and Fowles won't return to practice until Friday. The team resumes play Sunday at home against New York. The Lynx enter the second half of the season at 12-7 with a league-best seven-game winning streak. Minnesota has gone 12-3 since an 0-4 start.
- Having played for Canada, Achonwa, whose missed 10 games after injuring her knee June 12, will be back in the Lynx rotation. But guard Aerial Powers — who had surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in her right thumb June 18 — is still a ways away from returning. Guard Crystal Dangerfield, who hurt her right shoulder against Las Vegas July 9 and missed the team's final game before the Olympic break, is ready to return.