What’s to Come in This Year’s FIBA Women’s World Cup
This year’s FIBA Women’s World Cup game is set to take place from September 22 to October 1 in Australia. The qualifying rounds took place in Osaka, Japan and Belgrade, Serbia, and Washington DC. Because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, FIBA has banned Belarus and Russia from any FIBA events. In response, Puerto Rico has taken Russia’s place in the tournament, appearing in the competition for the second time in history.
A press release from FIBA addressed some controversy regarding the President of Nigeria, whose women’s national team qualified to participate in the tournament. The release stated, “In subsequent communications with the NBBF (Nigerian Basketball Federation), and despite FIBA's request, it has become clear that against the circumstances created by the government's decision, the NBBF is unable to confirm its participation in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022.”
Because of Nigeria’s withdrawal, the next ranked team, Mali, was invited to participate in the 2022 FIBA World Cup. In light of the changes, the final groups for the tournament are:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
and Group B-
Each group is currently scheduled to play 15 games, with Puerto Rico playing against Bosnia in the tournament's first game in Sydney, while the USA team plays its first game against Belgium. Group B’s first games will be Canada vs. Serbia and Japan vs. Mali. The tournament's complete schedule can be found here!
The USA team has finished in first place in the past three tournaments, totaling ten championships since the creation of the tournament. The country with the second-most first-place wins is the Soviet Union with six, followed by Brazil and Australia, each with one. From 1986 to 2014, the tournament used to coincide with the FIBA Men’s World Cup, but the cycle was changed to avoid occurring the same year as the FIFA Men’s World Cup. However, the Women’s FIBA World Cup continues on the same cycle as the FIFA World Cup, which is taking place later this year in Qatar.
Now let’s take a look at what’s at stake for some teams this year.
Belgium (aka The Belgian Cats)
Belgium is looking to redeem themselves after their loss to Japan in the Olympics, a game that many say they should have had a clear path to win given their talent. After that loss, they fired their head coach and are coming in with a new coach, Valery Demory. They are looking to at least grab one more title while their star player, Emma Meesseman, is in her prime years.
The United States (aka The Americans)
Team USA won the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but since then, their head coach Dawn Staley has stepped down;. the current head coach is Cheryl Reeves. A player to watch is Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins, who has led the Mystics to WNBA Finals in previous years.
Puerto Rico (aka 12 Guerreras or Magnificas)
The Puerto Rican National Team were silver medalists in the FIBA Women’s Americup and are making their second appearance in the FIBA World Cup. One of Puerto Rico’s most notable players is Jazmon Gwathmey. Gwathmey played guard in the WNBA for two years after being drafted by Minnesota in 2016. Puerto Rico is aiming to be the underdogs in the competition. With many players who have played in NCAA Div I, they’re hoping to pull upsets against Belgium and Team USA.
The Women’s Basketball games will be streamed on FIBA’s Youtube account and on the streaming service Courtside 1891.