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Fan Vote: Which FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup underdogs will surprise in Sydney? – FIBA


SYDNEY (Australia) – While some teams will expect to fight for the podium at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, some nations are heading to Sydney as underdogs and looking to spring some surprises.
It’s going to be a beautifully competitive tournament with just 12 sides competing for honors. And, the outcome at the flagship event could be determined by whether those teams expected to potentially struggle are able to cause an upset – or two.
At the 2018 edition, African duo Nigeria and Senegal caused surprises, the latter beating European opposition in Latvia and Nigeria making a run to the Quarter-Finals.
Now it’s your turn to vote on which of the underdogs is best placed to write some headlines on Australian soil.
They may have finished 5th in Europe last year, but that was a historic first and they are surely still an underdog because this is also their first outing on the global stage. With the phenomenal Jonquel Jones as their marquee player, anything is possible. She was the MVP at the Osaka Quaifying Tournament when her team claimed the scalp of hosts Japan. Something that indicates they can not be taken for granted. They also showed they are not a one player team and the likes of Nikolina Knezevic (formerly Babic) have provided some great cameos in support of their leading star.
Mali may be huge underdogs, but they can’t be discounted completely. They almost beat Nigeria in Belgrade at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament. However, they have been placed in the dreaded ‘Group of Death’ with Australia, Japan, Canada, Serbia and France. That is rough, so if they do take a victory, it will be the biggest shock for sure. Sika Kone is an absolute colossus, but it will boil down to whether those around her can also perform. They did take a win on their only previous appearance back at the 2010 edition.
Korea has the best pedigree in this competition down the years, although they didn’t win a game in Tenerife four years ago, or in the 2014 edition in Istanbul and Ankara. They will be eager to halt that losing streak and with Jisu Park to lead their campaign, they can have confidence that they can get some wins on the board. The center was incredible in the Qualifying Tournament and will be a handful for Puerto Rico in particular. With the experience of forward Danbi Kim, the frontcourt looks solid, so their success will probably hinge on how the backcourt performs.
The last couple of global adventures don’t seem to bode particularly well for Puerto Rico, having been way off the pace at the previous edition and then below par at the Tokyo Olympics. However, they do have the scoring power on their day at least to cause some problems and they will be delighted to have been drawn in Group A. Injury concerns in respect of team leader Jazmon Gwathmey mean that they could be dealt a blow, although they have brought in the naturalized Mya Hollingshed which will help them. They will see the matchup with Korea as the best chance of success.¬†
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