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Preview: Team USA plays Latvia in FIBA World Cup group play finale

The USA Basketball Women’s National Team plays Latvia and a win will qualify them for a spot in the quarterfinals.

A’ja Wilson and the United States look to finish FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup group play undefeated on Wednesday against Latvia.
hoto by Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images

The United States plays Latvia in their last game of Group D play in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Here’s a preview:


Game info

When: Tuesday Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. EST

Where: Tenerife, Spain (Quico Cabrera Arena)

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

Injuries: Brittney Griner (ankle) and Elena Delle Donne (knee) are questionable.

Rankings: The USA is ranked first in the world. Latvia is 26th and qualified for the World Cup after placing sixth in EuroBasket Women 2017.

Results from Day 2: The USA beat China, 100-88, while Latvia lost to Senegal, 70-69.


Storylines to follow

The United States comes into this game with another chance to warm up before the quarterfinals, which start on Friday if they win. The Americans, however, haven’t looked particularly impressive.

Backcourt play has yet to be dominant.

Diana Taurasi is leading the USA in assists, but she also had a very poor outing in the first group game against Senegal. Jewell Loyd and Kelsey Plum are both shooting 30 percent or less from the field, while Layshia Clarendon hasn’t been able to find much time. The frontcourt, at least, looks much better, with Breanna Stewart keeping her WNBA MVP form into the World Cup and A’ja Wilson showing no fear in the first two games.

Still, Team USA hasn’t run up to big leads early and defense has been an issue throughout the group stage. Part of it may be because other countries are catching up talent wise, but Team USA still isn’t playing to its potential.

The USA should be able to win today since Latvia is one of the weakest teams in the World Cup: They have no WNBA players and lost both of their previous games. It’s unlikely that Latvia will advance to the qualifying round, even with a win. If they lose, however, the World Cup will come to an end for them.