SYDNEY (Australia) – The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 will see some of the best rising stars on the planet showing their skills for their respective nations in Sydney.
Having already covered the likes of Sika Kone of Mail in our Players to Watch: Volume 1 feature and Iliana Rupert of France in our Breakout Ballers piece, here’s just some of the other names of rising that you should look out for in the tournament.
Timing is everything and with France short of guards in comparison to past years due to the retirement of the legendary Celine Dumerc, plus the unavailable Olivia Epoupa and opportunity knocks loudly for Fauthoux in Sydney. She has already shown she can perform with distinction and composure at this level as part of the France team that won silver at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket last year, prior to landing that bronze medal at Tokyo 2020.
The difference this time is that Fauthoux may need to be an actual leader. She was always slated to be so for Paris 2024, but the role has probably come slightly earlier. Yet the timing is good. She is coming off an excellent club season at Basket Landes where she turned up the noise in a big way in respect of her scoring and creative ability, eventually being crowned EuroLeague Women Young Player of the Year for 2021-22. More of this form would help France recover from that rocky Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
It’s fantastic news for Belgium that this young and dynamic forward now looks ready to be a contributor at the senior level for the Cats, having previously shown her skills at the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup in a big way. She has also made an impression in EuroLeague and EuroCup Women too, her quickness, athleticism and energetic displays making her a tough opponent to guard for the opposing defenses.
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Lisowa-Mbaka has played in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers and also stepped out at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament earlier this year. Each time she has played around 15 minutes and shown a lot of promise, not least an ability to get some buckets since she was the team’s fifth highest scorer in each competition. More of the same and even a slight increase in that output in Sydney would be a huge help for the Cats in their quest to potentially make the podium.
Likely to be a core baller in the evolution of Canada under their new head coach Victor Lapena, there has also been an evolution underway for Amihere too. The buzz during her youth years which was fuelled by her dunking videos has morphed into a recognition that she can still become be a leader for Canada, even if it takes longer than some people had expected. Something not helped by having had some tough injury issues to contend with. However, her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 was reflective of this as she posted a solid display coming off the bench.
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This was then repeated in a similar vein at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Osaka earlier this year. Although under Lapena she looks to be developing her role and may benefit from a change of ethos. Amihere has continued her basketball education playing for USA Legend Dawn Staley at South Carolina and it feels all-around that there is more to come from the center and opportunity is now knocking more loudly than ever with the seniors.
A star for many years at youth level for Japan, the versatile Hirashita has now been handed the opportunity to play at her first senior tournament by being named on the final roster. Her performances with Toyota Antelopes in the Japanese League have been solid and she was part of the team that won the Championship. Now she looks ready to contribute from the bench with the national team
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Her last tournament outing in a Japan vest came last year at the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup, meaning she is yet another young star to have moved made the step up to the senior version of the competition. Hirashita excelled in Debrecen, averaging more than 12 points and 6 rebounds per game, also leading her side in efficiency.
Perhaps the main reason she has been included is because she was part of the Japan squad that played a preparatory series against the Opals in recent months and she showed her potential. And, she has since made everyone sit up and take even more notice of her ability with a super 18 points against Belgium in the Test Game when she shot 5 of 5 from long-range.
One of the youngest, if not the youngest player in the tournament in Sydney, Haidara has a wonderful opportunity to take a step on the biggest stage of all and show the world why she was the FIBA U18 African Women’s Championship MVP this year. She took Mali to the title and her 22 point and 12 rebound double-double in the Final epitomized her big potential to become a senior star one day.
She is also no stranger to playing on a global stage though, since she stepped out with Mali at the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup last year in Debrecen and played well as her country made a record-breaking run to the Semi-Finals. Meanwhile she has also gained tremendous experience at club level based in Spain with EuroCup Women side Tenerife.
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