Column: A Look at the FIBA World Cup

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FILE – United States’ Sue Bird, dribbles as China’s Lili Wang defends. The veteran will try and help the Americans win a third straight FIBA World Cup title. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The WNBA season is officially over, which means many players are either gearing up to go play overseas or excited for a chance to rest during the offseason.

For the WNBA’s star players, however, September means representing team USA at the FIBA World Cup in Tenerife, Spain.

The roster of players was announced on Sept. 19 and it includes five former UConn women’s basketball standouts. The former Huskies on the roster are Diana Taurasi, Morgan Tuck, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and Tina Charles.

Two notable UConn alumnae on the squad are Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, who are both coming off of their WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm. Bird will certainly be a leader for the team, as she is the most experienced player on the roster and has won four Olympic gold medals for USA basketball.

The USA basketball landscape is beginning to change, as only six of the players on the roster competed in the 2016 Olympics for the United States. The newer players on the team are

Layshia Clarendon, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson and Morgan Tuck. Nneka Ogwumike is also on the roster, but she has previously been on FIBA World Cup teams.

A standout on the list of newcomers is Wilson, who just finished her rookie season with the Las Vegas Aces after graduating from the University of South Carolina. Wilson was named the rookie of the year this past season and averaged 20.7 points per game for the Aces.

It will also be interesting to see Loyd, Bird and Stewart playing together in a USA basketball atmosphere. The trio all play for the Seattle Storm and have developed a noticeable basketball chemistry with each other over the past few seasons.

The USA National Team is now coached by University of South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley. Staley won three Olympic gold medals when she played for USA Basketball and was even chosen to be the USA flag bearer at the 2004 Olympic opening ceremonies in Greece.

Staley took over the coaching position from Geno Auriemma, the head coach of the UConn women’s basketball team.

So far in the FIBA tournament, the United States is undefeated. They beat Senegal, China and Latvia to finish out group play. Quarter final qualification games begin play on Wednesday.

If the United States wins the FIBA World Cup, they will receive an automatic bid to the 2020 Olympics.


Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.

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