It probably won’t change any minds or make anyone feel better, but USA Basketball has offered an explanation for leaving Caitlin Clark off the Olympic roster.

As Selection Committee Chair Jen Rizzotti told the Associated Press, it all came down to “experience.”

“And when you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes,” Rizzotti said. “Then sometimes it comes down to position, style of play for Cheryl [Reeve], and then sometimes a vote.”

For her part, Clark was gracious and understanding about the committee’s decision.

“Hopefully one day I can be there,” she told reporters on Sunday. “I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully, when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, talks to the media before the game against the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 07, 2024, in Washington, DC. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Team USA has won 11 of the last 12 gold medals and seven in a row since 1996.

According to the Associated Press:

Diana Taurasi is back for a record sixth time. Her Olympic career started when she was a WNBA rookie in the 2004 Athens Game, and now the 42-year old will be on the team again. Other returners from the Tokyo Olympics are Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd and Brittney Griner.

Besides the returners, the Americans also added 5-on-5 newcomers Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young, who helped the U.S. win the inaugural 3×3 gold medal at the Tokyo Games in 2021. Several first-time Olympians will join the team with Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu and Kahleah Copper. All three played on the American team that won the World Cup in Australia in 2022.

Had Clark made the roster, she would have been the only player without senior national team experience. Critics have derided USA Basketball for excluding Clark and missing a chance to “grow the game.” However, Rizzotti clarified that “growing the game” is not one of the criteria they use for selecting players.

“It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team,” Rizzotti said. “Because it wasn’t the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the U.S. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl.”

United States players Chelsea Gray, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, Tina Charles, and Brittney Griner celebrate with their gold medals at the medal presentation ceremony after the Japan V USA basketball final for women at the Saitama Super Arena during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Team USA will get to work quickly.

“The U.S. team will train for about a week in Phoenix in July. After that, they’ll play an exhibition game against Germany in London before heading to France. In  Paris, the Americans will play Japan, Belgium, and Germany in Olympic pool play,” the Associated Press reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.