Three-time Olympic gold medal winner Sylvia Fowles selected to U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team

Former LSU All-American and three-time Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles was selected Monday to the 12-member U.S. women's Olympic basketball team. Photo courtesy Minnesota Lynx.

Former LSU All-American Sylvia Fowles will compete for her fourth Olympic gold medal after the 35-year-old native of Miami was selected Monday to the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team that will compete next month in the Tokyo Olympics.

Fowles, currently in her 14th season in the WNBA and playing with the Minnesota Lynx, has previously won gold medals with Team USA in 2008, 2012, and 2016, She teamed with former LSU All-American Seimone Augustus, who retired last month from the WNBA.

USA Basketball made the announcement of the 12-member team, six of which are first-time members with the basketball competition at the Olympics beginning July 27 against Nigeria. The medal rounds begin Aug. 7-8 where the U.S. team is looking to extend its streak of having won six consecutive gold medals.

With her fourth selection to the team, Fowles gives the U.S. a veteran low post presence and will team with seven-team WNBA All-Star Tina Charles of UConn and six-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner of Baylor.

Former UConn standouts and long time WNBA staples Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are trying to become the first five-time gold medalists, while two-time WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, also of UConn, was also selected to the team.

The U.S. team also has new faces in former South Carolina All-American A’ja Wilson, former Notre Dame All-American Skylar Diggins-Smith and former UConn All-American Napheesa Collier.

Current South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who was part of two gold-medal winning staffs as an assistant in 2008 and 2016, will serve as head coach. She also won three gold medals as a player.      

Fowles has developed a long, successful history with USA Basketball where she’s 80-4 in a USA Basketball uniform and will become just one of six players to compete in four Olympics.

The former No. 2 overall selection by the Chicago Sky in 2008 Fowles, a 6-foot-6 center, has gone on to become the WNBA’s active leader in career rebounds (506) and has scored 5,674 points in 359 career games.

She spent the first seven years of her career in Chicago, and then combined forces with Augustus to help lead Minnesota to two WNBA titles in 2015 and 2017 when Fowles was selected MVP in both finals.

Fowles, the WNBA MVP in 2017, has been selected to the WNBA’s All-Star team and the league’s All-Defensive team six times each, and has been the overall Defensive Player of the Year three times. She’s currently averaging 15.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.3 steals this season with the Lynx.

Fowles’ best Olympic season came in 2016 when she averaged 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds and shot 69% from the field in eight games during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

She was a two-time All-America center at LSU, leading the Tigers to four consecutive Final Four appearances from 2005 through 2008. She was the 2008 National Defensive Player of the Year and the SEC Player of the Year, and she earned All-SEC honors in each of her final three seasons.

A 2009 LSU graduate, Fowles established school career records for rebounds (1,570), blocked shots (321), free throws made (494) and free throws attempted (822).

She was elected into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015 and had her No. 34 LSU jersey retired in 2018.

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William Weathers

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