The USA Women’s National Team will begin its quest for yet another gold medal on the international stage when the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup tips off Wednesday night. Team USA has won gold in the previous three World Cups (2018, 2014 and 2010) and will once again be favored to win the competition, which features 12 of the world’s strongest national basketball teams.
Team USA, which ran a week-long training camp from Sept. 6 to Sept. 12, announced its final 12-player World Cup roster on Tuesday morning. Included are Ariel Atkins and Shakira Austin of the Washington Mystics, Kahleah Copper of the Chicago Sky, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney of the New York Liberty, Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun and Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm. Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) will serve as the team’s head coach.
At first glance, the roster seems like a well-balanced one. It’s deep in the frontcourt, athletic on the wing and has a trio of talented playmakers at lead guard. It also has the star power that followers of Team USA have been accustomed to (though perhaps not as much as during Olympic years), with Wilson and Stewart finishing first and second in 2022 WNBA MVP voting, respectively.
There’s been a fair amount of roster turnover, however. Eight of the 12 players on Team USA’s 2022 roster (Atkins, Austin, Copper, Gray, Ionescu, Jones, Laney and Thomas) will be competing in World Cup play for the first time, with Austin not even having participated in a training camp at the senior national team level prior to September.
The 2022 World Cup, then, could be viewed as the beginning of a new era for USA Basketball. With several Team USA stalwarts recently retiring (Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles) or firmly in the twilights of their respective careers (Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles), the program has a considerable void to fill, and while it goes without saying that players like Wilson, Stewart, Loyd and Ionescu will be starring for the United States for many years to come, any sort of continuity Team USA can establish between now and the 2024 Paris Olympics will go a long way.
The ultimate goal, though, is another gold medal. Though Team USA is in a bit of a transition year, it’s nevertheless well-equipped to make it four in a row in World Cup play.
The group phase of the World Cup will take place from Sept. 21 through Sept. 27, (note the difference in time zones; it will be Sept. 22 in Australia when things tip-off) during which Team USA will play five games, one against each team in Group A. The games will be either streamed on ESPN+ or televised nationally on the ESPN family of networks.
The group phase will be followed by four quarterfinal games on Sept. 29, two semifinal games on Sept. 30 and first-place (gold medal) and third-place (bronze medal) games on Oct. 1.
Wednesday, Sept. 21
USA vs. Belgium; 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
Thursday, Sept. 22
USA vs. Puerto Rico; 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
Saturday, Sept. 24
USA vs. China; 12:30 a.m. ET (ESPN2)
Monday, Sept. 26
USA vs. Korea; 12 a.m. ET (ESPN2)
Tuesday, Sept. 27
USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina; 12 a.m. ET (ESPNU)