2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team To Face Angola, China And Serbia In Preliminary Round Play
The United States learned today that it will begin its defense of its FIBA World Championship gold medal against preliminary round opponents Angola, China and Serbia, after the 2014 World Championship draw was conducted by FIBA in Istanbul, Turkey, to determine the four preliminary round pools for the 17th World Championship, which is scheduled for Sept. 27 – Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.
Competing in Group D, the U.S. is slated to open preliminary play against China (FIBA Asia bronze medalist) on Sept. 27, followed by Serbia (FIBA Europe fourth place) on Sept. 28 and close out the preliminary round against Angola (FIBA Africa gold medalist) on Sept. 30.
“You know, there really is no easy pool,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “There are so many difficult match-ups, teams keep getting better and better. If you look back to 2010, Czech Republic and Spain were on the medal stand and at the Olympics it was France and Australia up there with us. The playing field among top teams is becoming more level every year. So, in order to win a gold medal at the FIBA World Championship, you have to go through a lot of really good teams. It’s not going to be easy. All I know is that from looking at the pool of players we have to choose from, we’re going to have a really, really good team that will be ready to compete.”
Drawn into Group A for the Sept. 27-30 preliminary round were: Brazil (FIBA Americas bronze medalist), Czech Republic (FIBA Europe sixth place), Japan (FIBA Asia gold medalist) and Spain (FIBA Europe gold medalist); Group B includes Canada (FIBA Americas silver medalist), France (FIBA Europe silver medalist), Mozambique (FIBA Africa silver medalist) and Turkey (host nation, FIBA Europe bronze medalist); while Group C is comprised of Australia (FIBA Oceania gold medalist), Belarus (FIBA Europe fifth place), Cuba (FIBA Americas gold medalist) and South Korea (FIBA Asia silver medalist)
Groups A and B will play their preliminary rounds in Ankara, while Groups C and D will conduct their preliminary round play in Istanbul.
Teams finishing No. 1 in their respective pools advance directly to the quarterfinals, while teams finishing No. 2 and No. 3 in each pool will be seeded and compete on Oct. 1 for the right to continue to the medal round. The quarterfinals will be held Oct. 3, semifinals on Oct. 4 and the gold and bronze medal games will be contested on Oct. 5. Game times for the medal rounds will be announced by FIBA at a later date.
Turkey earned an automatic berth into the tournament as the host country, however, it would have directly qualified regardless of the site after the Turkish squad captured the bronze medal at the 2013 European Championship. USA Basketball earned its entry by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, while the remaining 14 nations were determined by results of the five FIBA zone qualifiers that were played in 2013.
The FIBA World Championship has been contested essentially every four years since 1953, and the United States captured the first two gold medals before the beginning of the Soviet domination of women’s basketball was kicked-off at the 1959 World Championship. The former USSR put together a string of five straight golds (1959, 1964, 1967, 1971, 1975), before the United States reclaimed gold in 1979. The Soviet Union in 1983 earned its final World Championship crown as the USA went on to capture four of the next five World Championships (1986, 1990, 1998, 2002). The only other nations to break into the gold medal column at this event are Australia in 2006, and Brazil, which defeated the USA in the 1994 semifinals and went on to take the top spot that year.
The USA owns a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Championship play, while compiling an all-time 97-21 record at the event. In 2010, the most recent World Championship, the U.S. rolled through its competition by an average margin of victory of 35.1 points a game. In fact, the closest game was against then-defending world champion Australia, 83-75, in preliminary play.
The 33-member 2014-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team will be selected, includes: Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (University of Connecticut), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Glory Johnson (Tulsa Shock), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun), Kayla McBride (University of Notre Dame), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Odyssey Sims (Baylor University), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) and Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars).