Minnesota Lynx President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Cheryl Reeve was named USA Basketball’s National Team Coach of the Year, USAB announced on Wednesday morning.
Reeve earned the honors after leading the USA Basketball Senior Women’s National Team to its fourth straight gold at the FIBA Women’s World Cup (WWC) down in Sydney, Australia this fall in her first major international tournament as Head Coach of the prestigious hoops dynasty.
“What I wanted to do was make sure this journey was fun. Because I think there’s sometimes when you have pressure to win, or the perceived pressure, it takes the enjoyment out of it. I wanted to make sure that we enjoyed this journey,” Reeve said on the podium after capturing gold. “I thought this group was a great group and I know I enjoyed the hell out of it. I hope they did, too.”
The win extended USAB’s World Cup winning streak to 30 games and capped off a 10-0 record for Reeve in her first year as the leader of the program.
“Cheryl stepped into the head coaching spotlight with 2022 Women’s National Team and delivered. Winning our fourth consecutive World Cup title is a tremendous accomplishment, but how Cheryl achieved this is equally as impressive, with multiple records set throughout the tournament,” Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO, said after the tournament. “Our USA Women’s National Team, led by Cheryl, continues to inspire generations of girls to get on the court and play basketball.”
“I’ve been a part of it since 2014, started in 1996. There’s this fun element to being a part of something that’s been so successful for so long, and there’s such great pride in it,” Reeve told Canis Hoopus last month.
“The number of times that I’ve talked to a player that said, ‘I just love being a part of USA Basketball,’ like those all kind of went into this experience where we want to make sure that we continue to capture that enjoyment, and then work in a way that’s representative of all those teams through all those years.”
“And so not to see [the challenge of winning] as pressure to try to do what they’ve done, but a little bit more embracing that enjoyment of the journey and how it’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be this level of commitment, that you’re making sacrifices,” Reeve continued. “That’s what so many before you have done, and just how meaningful that is, and then to stand together on a podium accomplishing the ultimate goal and winning a gold medal.”
The National Team players certainly made the giants of the game who came before them proud, and did so in dominant fashion.
USA Basketball scored 98.8 points per game and held an average winning margin of 40.8 over the entire tournament. The team’s 22-point win over China in the championship marked USA’s eighth consecutive win over China in World Cup play and set a record for largest winning margin in a FIBA WWC final.
Now, Reeve’s focus will return to the Lynx, who are set to undergo major changes this offseason following the Sylvia Fowles’ retirement and securing the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft. The team’s major win in the lottery will expand the options available to Reeve and her front office and sets up what will be a fun offseason to follow for Lynx fans.