Everything You Need To Know, TV Coverage, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart, Lauren Jackson
The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup kicks off in Sydney on Thursday with favorites USA and a host of nations, including Lauren Jackson’s Australian Opals, looking to cause an upset.
The event takes place every four years and requires teams to qualify through regional games and then special qualifying tournaments with 12 nations qualifying for the main event.
Two qualified nations were replaced by Russia banned from competition by FIBA in March due to the invasion of Ukraine, while the Nigerian government withdrew them from FIBA competition in June, Puerto Rico and Mali taking their place.
How it works: Two groups of six teams play five group matches, with the top four from each group advancing to the knockout quarter-finals. The four winners advance to the semi-finals, then the two semi-final winners play for the gold and silver medals while the two losing teams play for the bronze. All of this will be wrapped up in 10 exhausting days.
How to watch: Ticketek has game tickets starting at $25 for an adult and $15 for a concession with games at the SuperDome and Olympic Park Sports Center. ESPN will broadcast every game live.
Past winners: The United States is the dominant force in women’s basketball. The Americans have won 10 of 18 World Cups, including seven of the last nine. Australia, led by Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor, won the event in 2006 and Brazil won in 1994 when Sydney last hosted.
Group A: United States, Belgium, China, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Puerto Rico, Korea: The United States could be without WNBA MVP A’Ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray for the first game or two after winning the WNBA title with Las Vegas Aces on Tuesday (AEST) but USA should win this rather weak group at a gallop. Belgium and China could compete for medals.
Group B: Australia, France, Serbia, Japan, Mali, Canada: This is the most difficult group. France, Serbia and Japan all circled the medals in Tokyo while Opals and Canada are among the top five ranked nations. Whoever finishes third and fourth could face the United States before the final.