Dan Hughes, Cheryl Reeve, Jennifer Rizzotti Return as USA Women’s National Team Assistants Through 2020 Olympics
After helping guide the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s National Team to an overall 12-0 record, including a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup and six exhibition wins, USA Basketball has selected Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington) to return as assistant coaches for the USA National Team through the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I’m extremely excited to have Cheryl, Dan and Jennifer return as assistant coaches to the USA National Team staff for the 2020 Olympics,” said USA head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina). “Chemistry was an important part of our success at the 2018 World Cup, and we worked well together. Each of them has impressive resumes and prior USA Basketball experience. Cheryl and Dan are veteran coaches who are great teachers of the game having won a combined five WNBA Championship titles. Jennifer has experienced success as a player and coach and knows what it takes to win. They all have a strong work ethic and are respected by our players. I am ecstatic to have these three proven and accomplished coaches on the bench alongside me providing leadership and representing our country on the world stage.”
“This set of coaches worked well together with Dawn during the 2018 FIBA World Cup,” said Carol Callan, chair of the USA Women’s National Team Steering Committee and USA Basketball Women’s National Team director. “Additionally, each coach has served USA Basketball for so many years that they understand the culture, the players and what it takes to win on the grandest stage. These coaches are the obvious choice by the steering committee to assist Dawn and our USA National Team through 2020.”
Current members of the 2019-20 USA National Team include: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings), Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky), Asia Durr (New York Liberty), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings), Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kayla McBride (Las Vegas Aces), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Chiney Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky), Odyssey Sims (Minnesota Lynx), Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), Brittney Sykes (Atlanta Dream), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun), Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun), Sydney Wiese (Los Angeles Sparks), Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2017-20 USA National Team roster will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2020 U.S. Olympic Team will be comprised of players from the 2019-20 USA National Team.
Hughes, Reeve and Rizzotti were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. Their selections as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic delegation are pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“I am thrilled to continue to serve on the USA National Team coaching staff through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Hughes. “To be able to represent our country and assist some of the world’s greatest athletes and coaches is an incredible honor, and I am grateful for this opportunity.”
Named on Oct. 4, 2017, as head coach for the Seattle Storm, Hughes made a dramatic first impression in his inaugural season in leading the Storm to a league-best 26-8 record and the 2018 WNBA crown.
Hughes underwent surgery to remove a carcinoid tumor in his digestive tract on May 14, 2019, and will return to the Storm sideline June 21 when the Storm hosts the Los Angeles Sparks in Everett, Washington.
Prior to arriving in Seattle, Hughes spent 16 years as a WNBA head coach. He began his career in the league as the Charlotte Sting head coach in 1999, served as the Cleveland Rockers head coach from 2000-03 and was at the helm of the San Antonio Stars from 2005-09 and 2011-16.
In all, Hughes has directed teams to the playoffs 11 times and advanced to the 2008 WNBA Finals after guiding San Antonio to a first-place finish in the Western Conference with a 24-10 record.
“Representing the USA is a tremendous honor, and I’m thrilled to once again support head coach Dawn Staley on this journey to winning gold in 2020 at the Olympics in Tokyo,” said Reeve.
In her 10th season at the helm of the Lynx (2010 to present), Reeve, who in 2017 took on the role of Lynx general manager, compiled in her first nine seasons a 213-93 (.696 winning percentage) overall record and captured WNBA championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
After a 13-21 finish in 2010, Reeve helped orchestrate the second-best turnaround in league history, capping the regular season with a 27-7 record and then winning the WNBA title. For her efforts, Reeve was named the 2011 WNBA Coach of the Year. She won the award again in 2016 after leading the Lynx to a league-best 28-6 record.
Prior to being named head coach at the Lynx, Reeve spent nine years as an assistant in the league at Charlotte (2001-02, 2004-05), Cleveland (2003) and Detroit (2006-09), where she aided the Shock to a pair of WNBA titles.
“I am extremely honored to be a part of the USA National Team staff through the 2020 Olympic Games and I’m tremendously excited to build upon this group's chemistry from the 2018 World Cup in Spain,” said Rizzotti. “Dawn has been a mentor to me and a myriad of other former players in the coaching profession. It is a unique privilege to work side by side with a three-time Olympian, as well as the past two WNBA championship coaches in Cheryl Reeves and Dan Hughes.
“Having worked as a scout during the 2016 Olympics and 2014 World Cup, I am aware of the preparation, hard work and dedication the athletes and coaching staff put into winning an Olympic gold medal. I am thrilled to don the red, white and blue once again to help the USA National Team in its quest to win a seventh consecutive gold medal in Tokyo next year.”
Rizzotti served as an advance scout/court coach for the gold-medal winning 2016 U.S. Olympic and 2014 USA World Cup teams, and she also served as court coach during USA National Team training camps from 2014-17.
Rizzotti began coaching with USA Basketball as an assistant for the 2006 USA U18 National Team that claimed gold and as a head coach led the 2010 USA U18 National Team and 2011 USA U19 World Cup Team to gold medals. As an athlete, Rizzotti was a member of the 1996 USA R. William Jones Cup that earned the gold medal with a 9-0 slate.
Rizzotti completed her first season at George Washington in 2016-17 with a 20-10 slate, including 13-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference for a share of the A-10 regular season title, and earned a berth in the WNIT.
In her second year at GW, she piloted her squad to a 19-14 slate, the 2018 A-10 Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In all, Rizzotti owns a 49-44 (.527 winning percentage) record in her three years at George Washington.
Prior to arriving at GW, Rizzotti spent 17 seasons (1999-2000 through 2015-16) at the helm of the University of Hartford where she compiled a 316-216 record (.594 winning percentage), including 183-97 (.654) in America East Conference play, won five conference championships and four regular-season titles. She was named America East Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2010) and advanced her teams to six NCAA Tournaments and the 2007 WNIT.
USA Basketball Women’s National Team
Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the new FIBA Olympic Qualifying competition windows, the FIBA AmeriCup and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-Aug. 9), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee includes three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Katie Smith as the athlete representative; two-time Olympic and 1998 World Cup gold medalist Ruthie Bolton is the at-large representative; representing the WNBA is head of WNBA league operations Bethany Donaphin; and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who coached USA teams to gold medals at the past two Olympics and FIBA World Cups, serves as a special advisor.
Callan also serves as chair of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which is comprised of Auriemma, Smith and WNBA representatives Curt Miller, head coach of the Connecticut Sun, and Penny Toler, executive vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles Sparks.
Olympic Games Women’s Basketball Competition
Winners of the past six Olympic gold medals, the USA owns a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, while compiling an all-time 66-3 record in Olympic play since women’s basketball was first introduced to the Olympic program in 1976.
In 2016, the most recent Olympic Games, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Serbia won bronze.
Twelve teams will compete in the Olympic competition, which will see a different tournament format launched in 2020. The 12 teams will be split into three groups of four teams apiece for preliminary play.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded, and the top two teams from each group and the two best third place teams, according to FIBA’s placement rules, will qualify for the medal round. In the medal round, teams will compete in a knockout bracket, with winners advancing from the quarterfinals and semifinals to the gold medal game.