The exact times of the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament are now out. The USA Basketball women’s national team will head to Antwerp, Belgium in February. But now, we know WHEN they will play.
Here is the actual schedule, according to Pat Cuelemans of Het Nieuwsblad (link in Dutch). Times are in Eastern, which are six hours behind Central European Time, the timezone for most of Western and Central Europe:
Thursday, Feb. 8
12:15 p.m. ET: Senegal vs. Nigeria
2:45 p.m. ET: Belgium vs. USA
Friday Feb. 9
12:15 p.m. ET: USA vs. Nigeria
2:45 p.m. ET: Belgium vs. Senegal
Sunday Feb. 11
10:45 a.m. ET: Belgium vs. Nigeria
1:15 p.m. ET: USA vs. Senegal
The games will be played at the Sportpaleis Antwerpen, an indoor arena that has over 18,000 seats. Ceulemans noted that since ticket sales for the tournament started last Tuesday, 10,000 seats have been sold for the Cats’ match against Team USA. My feeling is that that game will be sold out.
As we pointed out before, Team USA has nothing to play for in the tournament because they already qualified for the 2024 Olympics by winning the FIBA Women’s World Cup last year. However, this could be a chance for some players, including those on the Washington Mystics, to make a final impression on the selection committee.
Ariel Atkins and Shakira Austin were both on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup. While they may have an “easier” path to make the team because of that experience, they also aren’t A-list superstars who are “effectively guaranteed” a spot. Atkins played for the Americans in their fall exhibitions against college teams, and should be on the roster this February. But Austin won’t be after hip surgery last month. That’s because her recovery timeline is about 4-6 months.