FIBA Women’s World Cup holders USA have named their final roster for the upcoming tournament in Tenerife, Spain, beginning September 22.
The squad is headlined by four-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, who boast a total of five World Cup gold medals between them.
The nine-time FIBA Women’s World Cup winners begin their defence against Senegal on September 22 and are heavily favoured to retain their crown for a third straight time and claim a tenth overall.
“It’s a really hard process,” said USA head coach Dawn Staley. “Because, we’ve got great players and great people. So, they don’t eliminate themselves because of that. What it’s coming down to is, what is our most pressing need? And it changes from day to day, especially because we don’t have our entire team together yet.
“We’ll get a good birds-eye view of what that team looks like in the next few days, and I would say within 48 hours we should know, and we should have our roster locked in.
“All the players, from when we started out in Columbia, South Carolina, to going all the way to D.C., and then taking 11 players from D.C. to here, they’ve all sacrificed. They all have given up their time.
“Some of the ones who are not here right now, some of the ones who are going home may not feel like they helped, but they did. They helped us, they helped their cause and gave the committee someone that they can look at and count on when training camps come up again.”
About the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup
Winners of back-to-back World Cup titles and four of the past five FIBA World Cups, the USA owns a record nine gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Cup play, while compiling an all-time 103-21 record at the event. In 2014, the most recent World Cup, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Australia won bronze.
Group A includes Canada, France, Greece and South Korea; Group B is comprised of Argentina, Australia, Nigeria and Turkey; Group C features Belgium, Japan, Puerto Rico and Spain; while Group D houses USA, Senegal, China and Latvia.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded, and the top team from each group will earn an automatic berth to the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 teams from each group will advance to the Sept. 26 quarterfinals play-in round. From there, winners will compete in the Sept. 28-30 medal round.