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Preview: Team USA plays Senegal in first FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup game

The United States begins their quest to win their third consecutive FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup with a group game against Senegal.

A’ja Wilson and Team USA play in their first World Cup group game on Saturday.
Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images

The United States women’s national basketball team begins its World Cup play in Group D. Their first group match is against Senegal.

Game info

When: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Tenerife, Spain (Quico Cabrera Arena)

How to watch: ESPN+ (national streaming with fee), LiveBasketball.TV (worldwide streaming with fee)

Rankings: The USA is ranked first in the world and made the World Cup by winning the Gold Medal in the 2016 Olympics. Senegal is 17th in the world and made the World Cup by advancing to the championship in AfroBasket Women 2017, where they won the silver medal.

Storylines to follow

The United States begins its 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup slate with a group match against the Senegalese team, which finished second in last year’s AfroBasket Women competition. Senegal does not have any current WNBA players, but Maimouna Diarra was a reserve for the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The Americans recently played Senegal in a friendly tournament in France on September 16 and won 109-58. Expect the Americans to win comfortably again in this one, but it’s more important to see which players they use in this game. Will they rely on their veteran players, especially Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi who are the oldest on this team? Or will they rely more on a younger group that includes A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart and Kelsey Plum?

Team USA will surely turn to Bird and Taurasi in future games, presumably in the elimination rounds — if they make it, of course. But with a game like this, it’s preferable to see Team USA give its younger players more playing time to allow the older players to get some rest after a compressed WNBA season.