Texas senator Ted Cruz criticised USA Basketball for excluding WNBA star Caitlin Clark on the Olympic roster. GETTY IMAGES

US senator Ted Cruz voiced criticism over Caitlin Clark's exclusion from the Olympics, calling out the USA Basketball selection committee on social media on Wednesday in response to the WNBA recording its most-watched game in more than 20 years. The game between Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky Sunday marked the most-watched WNBA game on any network in 23 years with an average of 2.25 million people tuning in to CBS with the Fever’s 91-83 victory peaking viewership at nearly 3 million viewers. 

The record game has followed several notable marks for the WNBA this season, and much of that has centred around Clark, the number one pick in the last WNBA draft after a stellar NCAA career which she left as the all-time leading scorer in college basketball history. Despite the "Clark Mania” that has surrounded the star, USA Basketball left the point guard off the roster for the Olympic Games. USA Basketball selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti told the Associated Press that Clark being omitted from the team was largely due to her lack of experience. 

Cruz is among those who recognise Clark’s impact on the league and called out USA Basketball over her snub from the Olympic team.

"And yet these imbeciles don’t want her on the Olympic team," he wrote in a post on X. 

Clark’s arrival in the WNBA has led to a surge in the league’s popularity and has the potential to boost viewership and support for basketball in the Paris Games. Rizzotti affirmed that viewership was not a factor in selecting the 12-player roster. 

"Because it wasn’t the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the US. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl (Reeve, American basketball head coach)," she said of the Clark omission.