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No hard feelings for Clark after failing to make Olympic team

No hard feelings for Clark after failing to make Olympic team
Caitlin Clark (Photo: Caitlin Clark)

NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) - First overall WNBA draft pick Caitlin Clark has no bitterness about being left off the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team, as the Indiana Fever guard said on Sunday that the decision gave her added motivation.

USA Today broke the news over the weekend that Clark had not made the cut for the team that will travel to the Paris Games. Clark, the all-time leading NCAA scorer, confirmed the news to reporters.

“Honestly, no disappointment – it just gives me something to work for. It’s a dream, you know – hopefully one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little more motivation,” Clark said. “Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

Clark left television ratings shattered in her wake during a blockbuster final collegiate season at the University of Iowa and brought her legions of fans to the WNBA, in what fans celebrated as a new era for the women’s game in the United States.

Her exclusion prompted a flurry of debate, with the U.S. team reportedly including an array of heavy hitters, including MVPs A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart. Clark has averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game thus far in her rookie season.

Clark, who said she grew up watching the nine-times Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. team, said she was informed before the report went public that she had not made the team.

“I know it’s the most competitive team in the world, and I know it could have gone either way,” Clark told reporters.

The six-foot sharpshooter, who put up 30 points in the Fever’s 85-83 win over the Washington Mystics on Friday, said there were upsides to the Olympic break.

“It’s going to be a great month for my body to, you know, just get rest, get healthy and just get a little time away from basketball and the craziness of everything that’s been going on,” Clark said.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)

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