SYDNEY (Australia) – With only a few weeks to go until the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 tips off in Sydney, it’s time to take a look at some of the global basketball stars ready to light it up.
👀 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐘𝐄𝐑𝐒 𝐓𝐎 𝐖𝐀𝐓𝐂𝐇: VOL. 1️⃣
We’ve asked ourselves the question: who are we most excited to see play in Sydney?
Players ranked 20-16 below ⬇️#FIBAWWC
With a baller from every competing nation and sometimes two, this first volume covers spots 20-16!
It’s going to be a tough ask for underdogs Puerto Rico to get a win in Sydney, but another big-time scoring performance from Guirantes would go a long way to helping them cause an upset – or at least be super competitive. She was the pick for her nation at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament earlier this year, making the All-Star Five after some excellent showings.
“It’s a great experience. It’s a blessing to finally put on this jersey.” @Arella_Karinnn is enjoying putting on the NT jersey for the first time! Can she help Puerto Rico achieve their #FIBAWWC dreams tonight? 🤔@fbpur 🇵🇷 pic.twitter.com/0YRaYpkdTB
She averaged almost 15 points per game to show why she has WNBA court time on her resume, having stepped out last year with the LA Sparks. Touted as the new face of Puerto Rico on the global stage after that super debut in February earlier this year, it will be exciting to see how the Rutgers alumni performs at her first edition of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
With Korea’s marquee center Jisu Park looking like she will be absent from the roster for Sydney, the responsibility will be high on the forward to use all of her veteran know-how and class to get her country through the challenge it poses. This is likely to be her very last senior tournament and she has been an incredible servant over the years for Korea, posting many excellent and memorable displays.
💨 Off to the races 💨
Danbi Kim takes it all the way to the basket! 🇰🇷#FIBAWWC pic.twitter.com/EpWy9SV62e
It would be handy if she can turn up the volume on her offensive output as the whole team will need to somehow supplement the loss of Park’s usual leading contribution. Kim will be at the front of this queue and her warrior mentality will also be hugely appreciated as always on the court and in the locker room.
If you haven’t heard of Lauren Jackson’s return you must have been living on a different planet of late. That’s because this legend of the women’s game coming out of retirement to play a staggering fifth edition of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup has been the biggest headline heading towards the competition tip-off. It has added to the buzz and anticipation not only in Australia, but beyond.
The return of Jackson makes her a bonafide member of this 20 players to watch club. In fact, you could argue that no camera lens will be fixed on any other player more than LJ. She has the class, the shooting ability, the experience, the post moves – well, absolutely everything. All that we are waiting to see now is whether her body holds up in a rigorous tournament setting, but the signs have been great so far. She has proven a lot of sceptics wrong to get this far alone and won’t be letting her chance go to waste. Buckle up!
It’s been a real mixed bag in recent times for the wonderful talent that is the towering China center. Under former playcaller Limin Xu, she was given her senior debut and made amazing strides, including her debut at the event in Tenerife four years ago while still a teenager. She was then in the All-Star Five in the Qualifiers for Tokyo 2020, but in the past year or so, has had to settle for coming off the bench. That’s because Limin Xu handed the starting baton to the similarly wonderful Yueru Li and wouldn’t ever play the twin towers together.
Rather than sulk, the center has done the opposite and still posted all of the positive attributes that she has come synonymous with – the shot that is so smooth, her finishing which is getting better all the time and her shot-blocking ability. Han has also racked up a lot more minutes in the WNBA and that experience means she will be even better when she steps onto the court for China in Sydney.
With so many experienced players absent due to a combination of retirement, unavailability or injury (including Sonja Vasic, Jelena Brooks, Ana Dabovic and Aleksandra Crvendakic an even heavier load of responsibility will fall onto the shoulders of the center. Krajisnik will be especially important defensively and is a walking double-double because of her great work on the boards at both ends.
The most interesting element will be whether she can help make up for the missing scoring on her team’s roster and increase her offensive output. That won’t be easy against some excellent opposing centers in the competition. Krajisnik is more likely to preserve her current role as an anchor for Serbia, providing a strong presence inside and drawing defenders to her – it’s up to her teammates to surely find the scoring solutions eslewhere on the court and especially when she kicks the ball out.
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