Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud has hit the ground running during the WNBA offseason doing what most players do: play overseas. But in her case, she isn’t playing professionally. Rather, she is doing so for another county.
Cloud has naturalized as a citizen of Jordan and is playing in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup Division B, which is also being hosted by Jordan. I’ll get to the structure of that tournament in a bit. Cloud also gave an interview to Paul Nilsen of FIBA which you can read in its entirety here.
Great to catch up with @T_Cloud4 at #FIBAAsiaCupWomen— @Basketmedia365 ♀️ Paul Nilsen (@basketmedia365) November 10, 2021
Great insight into being a naturalized player.
Deffo all about 'the vibe' just as much as the
Respect to the @WashMystics guard for getting the bigger picture stuff too off the court ♀️ #Basketball #WNBA https://t.co/gg5zNkyxeO
In the interview, Cloud mentioned that the coach of the Jordanian team went to St. Joseph’s for college like she did. Cloud added “I am a player that even when I am home and I am playing for the Washington Mystics, my job is to be a facilitator first, but also knowing I can score if I need to. That is my job here with Jordan too.”
Since coming to Jordan for the Division B tournament, Cloud averaged 16.5 points and 8 assists in two games. Jordan has advanced to the semifinals in the tournament and will play Kazakhstan in the Semifinals at 12 p.m. ET tomorrow. The last games are on Saturday.
The goal of the Division B tournament is to move into Division A for the next cycle in 2023 by winning this tournament. Unlike Europe, the most competitive continent, FIBA Asia divides its nations into two tiers for the continental cup. Division A is the tier of teams where the winner will earn a place into the following World Cup or Olympic qualifying tournament. But Division B is a group of second tier teams that are looking to make it into Division A the following cycle. To make room for the Division B winner’s new spot in Division A, the last place team in Division A is relegated to B for the next cycle.
The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup Division A tournament was held in October with Japan winning the Gold Medal while China won silver and Australia won bronze. FIBA Asia is granted three spots to the World Cup qualifying tournament next year. But Korea, the fourth place team, will get a spot as well because Australia is already hosting the World Cup. India was last place in Division A and will be relegated to Division B for the 2023 cycle.
Good luck to Cloud and Jordan in their quest to win Division B.