After going through the group stage and two elimination games, the United States plays Australia for the gold medal in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Here’s the preview!
When: Sunday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Tenerife, Spain (Santiago Martín Arena)
How to watch: ESPN (national TV), LiveBasketball.TV (worldwide streaming with fee)
Injuries: Brittney Griner (ankle) and Elena Delle Donne (knee) have injuries for the USA but they will be playing.
Rankings: The USA is ranked first in the world. Australia is ranked fourth in the world and qualified for the World Cup after winning the silver medal in the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
Results from the semifinals: The USA beat Belgium 93-77, while Australia defeated Spain 72-66.
Storylines to follow
The United States and Australia have both been longtime world powers. Though the Americans have remained on top for nearly every world competition in the 21st century, the Australians have consistently medaled until very recently, as some of their long time stars like Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor retired. Ultimately, Australia didn’t medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Transition periods can be rocky and the USA is in one as well, but Australia appears to be turning a corner with Dallas Wings center Liz Cambage now in her prime and coming off a 2018 WNBA season where she made the All-WNBA First Team.
Cambage leads all World Cup scorers, averaging 27.2 points per game and making a staggering 68.4 percent of her shots. She will be hard to slow down, even though the USA has multiple low post players like Brittney Griner, Tina Charles and Nneka Ogwumike to defend her.
Of course, Cambage isn’t the only player to keep an eye out for. New York Liberty forward Bec Allen is also on the squad and is averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
If the United States can control Cambage’s scoring, they should win this game, considering that Australia seems to be a bit too dependent on her to score. For reference, Allen is Australia’s second leading scorer.
Go Team USA!