March 3, 2022 

U.S. in Group A: FIBA holds World Cup draw

Decision still to be made on who will replace Russia

FIBA conducted the draw ceremony for the Women’s World Cup on Thursday morning in Sydney, and teams can now plan for their opponents. The only question mark remaining is who will fill the void after Russia’s expulsion in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The event begins on Sept. 22 and concludes on Oct. 1.

The U.S. will be in Group A with Belgium, China, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Korea, and the To Be Determined team replacing Russia. Group B features France, Serbia, Japan, Nigeria, Canada, and the hosts Australia.

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According to a press release, FIBA’s Central Board will “decide in due course” on a team from February’s Washington/Santo Domingo Qualifying Tournament to replace the Russians. The only remaining team from that tournament was fourth-place Puerto Rico. Brazil and Mali were fourth-place finishers in other qualifying tournaments, so perhaps a playoff with Puerto Rico will be needed for the final spot. Belarus was the other team that advanced to a qualifying tournament, despite forfeiting due to COVID-19 restrictions. And that delegation is not mentioned in FIBA’s statement on suspending Russian teams.

The draw allocation means the U.S. will avoid playing all the teams it met at the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. met Japan, France and Nigeria in the Group Stage, then Australia, Serbia and Japan again in the Knockout Stage. The U.S. defeated China in group play at the previous World Cup in Spain and Belgium in the semifinals. Should Puerto Rico play in the World Cup, 11 of the 12 teams from Tokyo will return, with debutant Bosnia-Herzegovina replacing Spain.

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis addressed those attending the ceremony.

“FIBA places a high priority on women in our sport,” Zagklis said. “We want more women playing, coaching and officiating our sport. We aim to develop and maximize on women’s basketball across the globe. We are very confident the Women’s Basketball World Cup Australia 2022 will bring popularity to new heights.”

Australian legend and FIBA Hall of Famer Michele Timms conducted the draw. Event Ambassador and Naismith Hall of Famer Lauren Jackson was also on stage.

“I think (hosting the World Cup in 1994) put (the women’s national team) on the map and inspired a young generation of females,” Timms said, “and one of them (Jackson) is standing right here. They went on to win the gold medal for us (in 2006).”

Written by Scott Mammoser

Scott Mammoser has covered major international events for FIBA, World Athletics and the International Skating Union. He has been to six Olympics and traveled to more than 90 countries.

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