Team USA takes aim at a fourth consecutive FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup title when the tournament kicks off Wednesday in Sydney, Australia. This is the 19th edition of FIBA’s flagship women’s event, which began in 1953 and was won by the U.S., the nation’s first of 10 World Cup gold medals to date.
The 2022 tournament features 12 nations, including world No. 3 and host Australia, 2021 Olympic silver medalist Japan and 2021 bronze medalist France. Competition begins with round-robin play between two groups. The top four teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage, where they’ll compete in a single-elimination format.
On the line: The winner punches its ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics, while valuable FIBA world ranking points are also up for grabs.
How to watch the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup
The 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup will stream in the U.S. on ESPN+, with six games also airing on linear television.
Here is the streaming/TV schedule for the U.S. team’s five group play games:
|Wednesday, Sept. 21||USA vs. Belgium||9:20 p.m. ET||ESPN+|
|Thursday, Sept. 22||USA vs. Puerto Rico||8:20 p.m. ET||ESPN+|
|Saturday, Sept. 24||USA vs. China||12:30 a.m. ET||ESPN2|
|Monday, Sept. 26||USA vs. South Korea||Midnight (12 a.m.) ET||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Sept. 27||USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina||Midnight (12 a.m.) ET||ESPNU|
Team USA roster for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup
Team USA features five players hot off the WNBA Finals, including the champion Las Vegas Aces’ dynamic trio of 2022 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson, 2022 WNBA Finals MVP Chelsea Gray, and All-Star MVP Kelsey Plum. The Connecticut Sun will be represented by triple-double history-maker Alyssa Thomas and 2022 WNBA Sixth Player of the Year Brionna Jones. On Tuesday, U.S. head coach Cheryl Reeve said it is unlikely all 12 players will be available for the team’s first game.
|NAME||POSITION||HEIGHT||AGE*||CURRENT WNBA TEAM||COLLEGE||HOMETOWN|
|Ariel Atkins||Guard||5-8||26||Washington Mystics||Texas||Duncanville, TX|
|Shakira Austin||Center/Forward||6-5||22||Washington Mystics||Mississippi||Upper Marlboro, MD|
|Kahleah Copper||Forward/Guard||6-1||28||Chicago Sky||Rutgers||Philadelphia|
|Chelsea Gray||Guard||5-11||29||Las Vegas Aces||Duke||Manteca, CA|
|Sabrina Ionescu||Guard||5-11||24||New York Liberty||Oregon||Walnut Creek, CA|
|Brionna Jones||Forward||6-3||26||Connecticut Sun||Maryland||Havre de Grace, MD|
|Betnijah Laney||Guard/Forward||6-0||28||New York Liberty||Rutgers||Clayton, DE|
|Jewell Loyd||Guard||5-10||28||Seattle Storm||Notre Dame||Lincolnwood, IL|
|Kelsey Plum||Guard||5-8||28||Las Vegas Aces||Washington||Poway, CA|
|Breanna Stewart||Forward/Center||6-4||28||Seattle Storm||Connecticut||North Syracuse, NY|
|Alyssa Thomas||Forward||6-2||30||Connecticut Sun||Maryland||Harrisburg, PA|
|A’ja Wilson||Forward||6-5||26||Las Vegas Aces||South Carolina||Hopkins, SC|
*Ages are as of Sept. 20, 2022
Team USA Coaching Staff:
|Title||Name (Current WNBA/College team)|
|Head coach||Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx)|
|Assistant coaches||Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics), Kara Lawson (Duke University), Joni Taylor (Texas A&M University)|
|Court coaches||Curt Miller (Connecticut Sun), Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx)|
|Video coordinator||Ashlee McGee (Minnesota Lynx)|
|Athletic trainers||Courtney Watson (LA Sparks), Hannah Wengertsman (Phoenix Mercury)|
|Team physician||Dr. Nancy Cummings|
|Sport performance||Fran Parsons|
Team USA storylines to follow in Sydney
Fresh faces highlight Team USA’s roster for Sydney, where exactly half of the U.S. players will make their debut for USA Basketball in a major international competition: Brionna Jones, Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Kahleah Copper and Shakira Austin.
“We’re in a little bit of a transition,” said Breanna Stewart, the 2022 AP WNBA Player of the Year who’s won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles as a member of Team USA. “But it really gives an opportunity for young players to come in and show what they’ve got and help take USA Basketball to the next level — and understand that everybody wants to beat us. Nobody wants us to win gold. And still, our goal every time that we are playing is to win the entire thing.”
The 2022 World Cup marks the first time since 2000 that the U.S. is without stalwarts Sue Bird (retired) and Diana Taurasi (injury), and it’s also missing veterans Tina Charles (opted out), Brittney Griner (detained in Russia since Feb. 17) and Sylvia Fowles (retired). Those five players have combined for a whopping 19 Olympic gold medals. Only five members of USA’s Tokyo 2021 gold-medal winning team are on the World Cup roster — Stewart, Ariel Atkins, Chelsea Gray, Jewell Loyd and A’ja Wilson — while Kelsey Plum (3×3 Olympic gold in 2021), Loyd, Stewart and Wilson are the only ones to have competed in the previous World Cup in 2018.
Additionally, the World Cup marks the first time at the helm for Team USA head coach Cheryl Reeve, who served as an assistant for the national team at the 2016 and 2021 Olympics and took over from Dawn Staley in December.
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Format for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup
The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney features 12 national teams, with 38 games to be played over 10 days from Sept. 22-Oct. 1. The teams start with seven days of group play, with every team playing each team in their group once. Teams earn two points for a win and one point for a draw, with the top four teams from each group advancing to the knockout stage.
Ahead of the knockout stage, a draw will be used to determine the pairings and bracket placement for the eight teams in the quarterfinals: The two best-ranked teams of each group (Group A and Group B) will be drawn against the two teams ranked third and fourth of the other group.
The tournament continues with two semifinal games on Friday, Sept. 30, with the winner of each semi advancing to the gold-medal game on Saturday, Oct. 1. The losers of each semifinal will play for bronze, also on Oct. 1.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Puerto Rico
Notably missing in Sydney: No. 2-ranked Spain, which failed to qualify; Nigeria, whose federation withdrew the team over governance issues; and Russia and Belarus, which were banned from participating due to their invasion and ongoing war in Ukraine.