On Thursday evening in Sydney time, the group draw was conducted for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. The USA Basketball women’s national team will be in Group A along with Belgium, China, Korea, Bosnia and Herzegovina and a team to be determined between Russia or Puerto Rico.
Here are the final groups.
- No. 1 United States
- No. 5 Belgium
- No. 7 China
- No. 13 Korea
- No. 26 Bosnia and Herzegovina
- TBD (No. 12 Russia or No. 17 Puerto Rico)
- No. 3 Australia
- No. 4 Canada
- No. 6 France
- No. 8 Japan
- No. 10 Serbia
- No. 14 Nigeria
The Washington Mystics’ training camp roster, as of now, will include players from the USA, Korea and Japan. For Team USA, Ariel Atkins was on the World Cup Qualifiers roster and was named to the All-Star Five after all competitions were completed. Elena Delle Donne also participated in training camp before the qualifiers.
For Korea, Lee Seul Kang is expected to participate, where her country will be in their 16th consecutive appearance dating back to 1964. And for Japan, point guard Rui Machida will be a big boost for their team after she missed the qualifiers.
What are the chances for Team USA, Korea and Japan?
At first glance, the USA is the favorite talent-wise. However, the Americans let Belgium make a bigger-than-expected comeback in the qualifiers when I don’t think they should have. Korea will have a hard time advancing out of their group given the talent level and size that Team USA, the Belgian Cats and even Bosnia and Herzegovina (that’s WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones’ national team) have. That said, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Koreans upset FIBA Asia rival China or the team to be determined. I’ll get to that situation later.
Japan is in Group B and they will have another rematch against France, who they beat twice in last year’s Olympics. I’m sure that Machida and the Japanese have the talent to make a quarterfinals berth, but it will still be a tall order for them to advance to the Final like last year.
That said, I won’t mind seeing a rematch of last year’s Olympic final.
So, what about that “Team to be determined?”
Earlier this week, Russia’s national teams were banned by FIBA until further notice because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The ban also affected professional teams in Russia from participating in competitions like EuroLeague Women.
Before the draw was held, an announcement was made that FIBA’s Central Board will make a determination “in due course” on whether Russia will participate in the Women’s World Cup. If Russia is not allowed to participate, Puerto Rico would likely take that spot given that FIBA’s announcement was that the team selected would come from the Washington/Santo Domingo Qualifying Tournament. The other two teams in that tournament were the USA and Belgium, who are already in.
Very interesting FIBA release about the women's basketball world cup in Australia in September. Russia expelled "until further notice", but tomorrow's draw will including a team "to be determined". That is, FIBA hasn't immediately replaced Russia with group losers Puerto Rico. pic.twitter.com/0QR0dOGLUw— Jack Snape (@jacksongs) March 1, 2022
FIBA’s Central Board will have their next meeting on Mar. 25, but it’s no guarantee that they will make a decision by then.
When is the competition?
The FIBA Women’s World Cup will be from Sept. 21 to Oct. 1 in Australia.