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2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup: Gametimes released for qualifiers and what to watch for with Team USA

The event will be in Washington, but an announcement regarding an official venue and an opportunity to buy tickets hasn’t happened yet.

Nigeria v United States
If Ariel Atkins plays for Team USA in the World Cup qualifiers, she could have more playing experience against other world powers than she did in last year’s Olympics.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup qualifiers will be held from Feb. 10-13 in three locations worldwide, including right here in Washington, D.C. The USA Basketball women’s national team is in Group D, where they will host Belgium, Russia and Puerto Rico where three of these teams, including the USA, will earn berths to this summer’s World Cup in Australia.

Here are the game times, according to USA Basketball’s website.

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022

  • Belgium vs. Russia, 4:30 p.m. ET
  • United States vs. Puerto Rico, 7:30 p.m. ET

Friday, Feb. 11, 2022

  • Russia vs. Puerto Rico, 4:30 p.m. ET
  • United States vs. Belgium, 7:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022

  • Belgium vs. Puerto Rico, 11:30 a.m. ET
  • United States vs. Russia, 2:30 p.m. ET

FIBA and USA Basketball have said that Group D will hold events in Washington but USAB has not announced exactly where yet. That said, Capital One Arena will not host the event because the arena will be booked on Feb. 10 for the Washington Wizards game against the Brooklyn Nets, followed by a Chris Tomlin and United concert on Feb. 11 with both events starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Of the remaining venues that could host four national teams, the Entertainment and Sports Arena seems like the most logical venue, because it is the home of the Washington Mystics and adjacent to the MedStar Health Performance Center, where the national teams can practice at a state of the art facility. We have reached out to USA Basketball about when they will make an official announcement about a venue and ticket sales. Their response was that they hope to make that announcement next week.

Who will play for Team USA? And what should we watch for during the qualifiers?

We don’t know. The Americans technically have nothing to play for in the qualifiers because they already qualified for the World Cup by winning the Olympics last year. However, due to new FIBA rules, the Americans still have to field a team and participate in these events.

The Americans are in the middle of a significant transition period. Six players on the 2020 Olympic team, including Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins were playing in the Games for the first time, so the World Cup qualifiers will give them more playing experience against some of the world’s top teams. Atkins played sparingly in Tokyo, and can benefit greatly in international play from that additional experience, as well as play in front of her home team fans.

Some of the other, more experienced Team USA players like Mystics center Tina Charles, could play as well. Of the remaining players on the 2021 Mystics roster, Elena Delle Donne is the only other player with Team USA experience. However, it is difficult to see her playing in a tournament with no medal or Olympic berth at stake given her ongoing back injury.

In addition to recent roster turnover, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve is now Team USA’s head coach for the next Olympic cycle. She was an assistant for the 2020 games.