The USA Basketball women’s national team will play and host a qualifier tournament for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup on Feb. 10-13 in Washington, D.C. The venue has yet to be determined and we’ll get there in a bit.
The Americans have already qualified for the World Cup because they won the Gold Medal in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. However, due to FIBA regulations, the Americans are still required to participate in all continental and world qualifiers. Therefore, the tournament will effectively be a group of friendlies, though the team and players won’t take it that way.
In addition to Washington, D.C., eight teams, or two four-team groups will play their qualifiers in Belgrade, Serbia. Four more teams will play in Osaka, Japan.
What is the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament?
This is the final tournament that determines seeding for the World Cup next year in Australia. There will be 16 teams, or four groups of four teams, including the USA and Australia. They are separated into four pots, to ensure fairer seeding. Here are the pots:
Pot 1: No. 1 USA (Olympic champions), No. 3 Australia (Host), No. 4 Canada, No. 5 France
Pot 2: No. 6 Belgium, No. 7 China, No. 8 Japan (host), No. 9 Serbia (host)
Pot 3: No. 11 Belarus, No. 12 Russia, No. 14 Brazil, No. 16 Nigeria
Pot 4: No. 17 Puerto Rico, No. 19 Korea, No. 27 Bosnia and Herzegovina, No. 41 Mali
Are you ready for the Draw?— FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWWC) November 22, 2021
The seedings were confirmed today, ahead of the ceremony that will take place tomorrow at 11:30 CET in Geneva.
1️⃣6️⃣ National Teams will be divided in 4️⃣ groups - with three tickets up for grabs for the #FIBAWWC 2022 in Sydney! pic.twitter.com/Y5DZcWzPok
Besides the USA and Australia, the other countries qualified because they won or placed high enough in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket, FIBA Women’s AmeriCup, FIBA Women’s AfroBasket or FIBA Women’s Asia Cup. Given that Europe is the best continent of the four, it is notable and not unusual that some top ranking teams, most notably Spain, are not playing in the World Cup due to earlier round upsets in EuroBasket.
The group draw will be held tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland at 5:30 a.m. ET.
The final 12 teams of the World Cup are determined by the Top 3 seeds in each group, except for the groups the USA and Australia are in. In those groups, the Top 2 seeds make the World Cup.
Who will the USA play?
They will play one team in Pot 2, one team in Pot 3 and one team in Pot 4. Since Japan and Serbia are hosts and in Pot 2, the USA will play against Belgium or China. They could play any team in Pot 3 or 4.
Will any Mystics players be on Team USA?
Tina Charles and Ariel Atkins were on the Olympic team and would likely be among the first players called. But it’s premature to say who will be on the team when February comes around.
Where will the games be played?
As of today, it’s unknown and I’m only going to guess. But first we can rule out Capital One Arena as an option. The schedule at Cap One is as follows:
- Feb. 10 - The Washington Wizards host the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. ET.
- Feb. 11 - Hillsong UNITE and Chris Tomlin have a concert at 7 p.m. ET.
- Feb. 12 - The Wizards host the Sacramento Kings at 7 p.m. ET.
- Feb. 13 - The Weeknd has a concert at 7 p.m. ET.
The most likely venue to me is the Entertainment and Sports Arena, where the Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go play. The Go-Go play the College Park SkyHawks on Feb. 9, but the venue will be open for the next week.
That said, they could host the event at a college basketball arena like the Charles E. Smith Center at George Washington University. If they play in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs, the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland, the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro and EagleBank Arena at George Mason University are options.
That said, I would THINK that FIBA would want the event in D.C. itself, and ESA would be the best choice in my opinion since it’s the home of the Mystics.
If Belgium is in the same group as the USA, it would give Emma Meesseman a homecoming game in D.C. It will be even more special if that game is at ESA.
Belgium has a 50 percent chance of playing in the USA’s group. This is because Japan and Serbia are also Pot 2 countries but are hosting the remaining 12 teams in the qualifiers.