USA Basketball has revealed the 12-player roster for the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia. They will compete under the leadership of new head coach Cheryl Reeve. Meanwhile, they are hoping to grab a fourth straight gold medal.
However, seven squad players are currently available for tonight’s matchup against Belgium. A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and her colleagues Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum will join the team late as they are celebrating the first championship for their club, the Las Vegas Aces.
Thank you Las Vegas! You showed up and showed out!
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) September 21, 2022
The Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA Championship, crushing the Connecticut Sun in four games. They lift the trophy, leading the best of five series, winning the fourth and the first two games. Wilson, Plum, and Gray will compete in the World Cup with the Sun players, Breonna Jones and Alyssa Thomas.
“The folks that coordinate these things are hard at work and in communication with those players. And you know, it’s a fluid process and me as a coach, when they show up for practice,” Reeve said in a media video call.
Meanwhile, Jones and Thomas have arrived in Sydney and taken part in their first session. Perhaps both will be prepared for today’s match versus Belgium.
United States FIBA World Cup Schedule
The United States is in Group A with Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, South Korea, and Puerto Rico. They are all set to play their first game against Belgium tonight in Sydney, Australia. Subsequently, they will square off against Rico on Friday. Meanwhile, the number of players for the encounter against Puerto Rico is up in the air. However, they will be prepared to clinch a victory.
“Whatever numbers we have, that’s what we’re going to go with. And we’re going to make sure that our schemes are right, our scouting report is right,” said Stewart.
Belgium a Potential Threat
Belgium produced a solid first impression by finishing fourth, just below basketball giants Spain, Australia, and the United States, in the recent 2018 World Cup. Although Ann Wauters and Kim Mestdagh have retired, they are led by WNBA champion and 2019 WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman. Moreover, they also want to recover from the devastating defeats they suffered in Tokyo at the FIBA EuroBasket Finals and the 2020 Summer Olympics. They are hungry for victory, and it will be difficult for the US to defeat them with a depleted squad.
“Starting off with Belgium is not an easy task, and it gives us a lot of opportunity to kind of grow, especially for players that haven’t had experience here. But we know we have reinforcements coming, and we just need to hold it down until then,” said Stewart.