The USA Women’s National Team (WNT) seeks to defend its title at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, which tips off Sept. 22-30, in Tenerife, Spain.
In preparation, the WNT began practicing Sept. 5 and went on to compete in an intrasquad scrimmage and exhibition games, stateside. Now, the WNT has crossed the pond to compete in a mini tournament, in France — three games in three days — which began Saturday. Here are the results of the weekend games and how to watch today’s exhibition:
FIBA World Cup Preparation, Antibes, France, Saturday, Sept. 15
The 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year and first-time All-Star A’ja Wilson continues to be amazing. She was the team-high scorer in this one, with 14 points in just over 14 minutes of playing time. Brittney Griner scored 13 points and Diana Taurasi scored 10. Kelsey Plum played a game-high 28 minutes, scoring 6 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. Team USA won this one thanks to a big second quarter, outscoring Canada 17-7. Team USA also shot 42 percent of its field goals for the game, while Team Canada made only 26 percent of theirs. Team USA out-rebounded Canada 49-40, but turned the ball over 14 times to Canada’s 13, which is something they’ll need to clean up before tipoff of the World Cup on Saturday. In the loss, Kia Nurse scored 8 points for Canada and Natalie Achonwa scored 4 points.
FIBA World Cup Preparation, Antibes, France, Sunday, Sept. 16
Yet again, it was the A’ja Wilson show. Coming off one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the WNBA, Wilson is now giving the world a taste of her game. On Sunday against Senegal, she scored a game-high 22 points in just 20 minutes. Wilson’s game-high was tied with Umou Khairy Sarr of Senegal, who also scored 22 points. But, really, it was no contest. The only other player to score in double figures for Senegal was Astou Traore, who finished with 10 points. For Team USA, four players accompanied A’ja Wilson in double-digit production: Griner (10 points), Morgan Tuck (15 points), Tiffany Mitchell (10 points) and Plum (12 points). The most staggering statistic in this blowout win for the USA? A field goal percentage of 62 percent to Senegal’s 28 percent.
Next up for Team USA
The USA Women’s National Team will compete in its final exhibition game today.
What: FIBA World Cup Preparation
When: Monday, Sept. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Antibes, France
How to follow: The game is not televised or streaming online, but fans can follow the action with FIBA’s live stats.
After today’s friendly against France, the USA Women’s National Team will go through a week of practice ahead of Saturday’s start of the World Cup, in which Team USA will seek to defend its title. Seattle Storm players who were celebrating their WNBA championship over the weekend presumably will join the team this week, and it will be interesting to see how the team jells with the late arrivals.
Stay tuned for previews and other FIBA World Cup coverage to come!