Women’s National Team Named USA Basketball’s National Team of the Year
Shawn Smith, Red Line Editorial
Dec 12, 2022
With several of its veteran players out of the picture and a new head coach at the helm of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, 2022 represented a year of transition.
were put to rest this fall at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney.TaurasiDianaand BirdSueAny doubts about whether the next generation of Americans was ready to take over for legends like
The young team dominated its competition in all facets of the game en route to a perfect 8-0 record, a fourth straight title and several records along the way. As a result, the Women’s National Team has been named USA Basketball’s Team of the Year.
said. “They met that moment and more in Australia. This was a team of strong, talented and dedicated women who strive for greatness on and off the court. Their performance in Australia is truly an inspiration for so many sports fans worldwide.”TooleyJim“There are few teams that approached competition with more pressure than the USA Women’s National Team at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup,” USA Basketball CEO
. Staley, whose prolific career with USA Basketball began back in 1989 as an athlete, most recently led the Women’s National Team to gold at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with Reeve on her staff as an assistant coach.StaleyDawn took the reins from ReeveCherylThe transition started late last year with a head coaching change, as Minnesota Lynx head coach and GM
With Reeve onboard for the duration of this Olympic quad, her first major tournament was the World Cup that began this past September.
Throughout the tournament, her team didn’t just win, it won big.
A 5-0 run through the group phase included a 145-69 win over South Korea in the fourth game in which the U.S. set a Women’s World Cup record for most points scored in a game. The wins over Belgium (87-72), Puerto Rico (106-42), China (77-63) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (121-59) were similarly dominant.
The Americans didn’t falter in the knockout stage either, breezing past Serbia and Canada with a combined score of 171-98 to reach the final. The win over Canada set the record for fewest points (43) allowed by a team in a semifinal game.
The final brought a rematch with China for the championships, and the result was the same: an 83–61 U.S. win.
The U.S. has now won a record 11 World Cup titles, including six of the past seven.
tournament— a streak that is bested only by the Soviet Union’s run of 56 consecutive victories from 1959-86.Since losing to Russia in the 2006 semifinals, the Americans have won their last 30 games at the
, a 22-year-old rookie for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, who quickly made an impact with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds against Puerto Rico in the group phase.AustinShakiraWith so much roster turnover, eight U.S. players made their World Cup debuts in Sydney. Among them was
The 2018 World Cup MVP, Stewart was again an integral part of the team. She proved to be a vocal leader, as well as a leader in scoring, finishing third on the team with 12.8 points per game. was one of just four players with World Cup experience, and she was the only U.S. player competing in her third World Cup.StewartBreanna
also played a big role. Because the end of the WNBA Finals brushed up against the start of the World Cup, Wilson was one of three members of the title-winning Las Vegas Aces unable to join the team until the third game of the group stage. But once Wilson made it to Sydney, she shined. She finished tied for second in the tournament with 17.2 points per game and was named the World Cup MVP.WilsonA’ja
The World Cup win also checked another important task off the team’s to-do list: the U.S. has now automatically qualified for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
The Team of the Year honor is one of several end-of-season USA Basketball awards being announced throughout the month.
Shawn Smith is a freelance contributor to usab.com.
In a year where the USA Basketball Men’s National Team competes in the final Men’s World Cup Qualifying window in February and the subsequent 2023 FIBA World Cup in late August into September, Sean Ford knows the U.S. has to live up to its gold standard of excellence.