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Power Rankings: European trio in top five but juggernaut falls to bottom four
17/08/2018
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Power Rankings: European trio in top five but juggernaut falls to bottom four

TENERIFE (FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018) - The biggest event of the year is just around the corner and as teams start their preparation for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018, we're ready with our first Power Rankings for the event.

RANK

NATION

MOVE

 

1

(USA) If you want to know why USA are red-hot favorites to land yet another title, just take a look at their huge talent pool - full of WNBA and EuroLeague Women superstars - their recent friendly results and the list of those players who are tipped to miss out. So strong that even their second team would finish on the podium, right?

2

(AUS) No legends in Lauren Jackson or Penny Taylor, or even the injured Marianna Tolo from the recent crop of stars. But, the Opals have just so many roster options - including who will be occupying their naturalized spot. With Liz Cambage a wrecking ball of the highest quality who can demolish any opponents, it feels like an exciting time.

(ESP) With home support behind them, the reigning European champions will be fancied to land on the podium. However, losing the veteran experience and elite level defense of the injured Sancho Lyttle could hurt them. WNBA forward Astou Ndour showed she can shine in the Rio Olympics at least.

(BEL) Calm down, we know Belgium are very high up. We simply see that they have a precious commodity - momentum. They also have nothing to lose at their maiden event so can enjoy it too. With two world class players in Emma Meesseman and Ann Wauters, they could make a seriously deep run - if their guards and wing players seize the initiative.

(FRA) You need to have a good memory to remember the last time they got on the podium in this competition as it was some 65 years ago! They have talent, rising stars and veteran know-how that could finally get the job done. However, last year’s retirement of the legendary playmaker Celine Dumerc leaves them potentially vulnerable at a key position.

(CAN) Maybe they should be lower following poor results in preparation earlier this month against China and Japan. However, we're confident that without big hitters like Kia Nurse and Katherine Plouffe on the Asia mission, it's time to keep the faith that they can still pack a punch when they land in Tenerife fully loaded.

(JPN) Surely destined to finish as the highest ranked Asian team and a lock to make the Quarter-Finals on recent form in preparation - as well as the fact they are the Asia champions. With Ramu Tokashiki not distracted by WNBA duties, things look really good right now for Tom Hovasse and his exciting and energetic team.

(CHN) Is this the tournament when China get back on track? They have been overtaken by their great rivals Japan in recent years and now have Australia muscling in on their traditional Asian dominance too. But, when you have one of the biggest rising stars in the FIBA women’s game in Yueru Li, perhaps you have one major reason to shine again.

(LAT) With a sweet-looking fusion of experience and youth, Latvia return to the global stage for the first time since the Beijing Olympics a decade ago. They still have a couple of survivors including the evergreen Gunta Basko Melnbarde, but all eyes will be on the new generation and not least, wing-star Kitija Laksa who is capable of seriously shooting the lights out.

10

(KOR) Nobody truly expects anything – do they? But does that make Korea a dangerous dark horse? Led by the phenomenal talent of kingpin Park Jisu who is now a global name after her WNBA exposure, you still have to take Korea seriously. They don’t have depth, but if they get it right on the day, you really had better watch out.

11

(GRE) They showed at the Women's EuroBasket 2017 they love to be written off and relish an underdog role. So, maybe we will do them a favour and drop them lower in their next list. Was last year’s showing in Prague a fluke, or do they veterans like Evina Maltsi, Stella Kaltsidou and Co have something left to give in the tank?

12

(ARG) Despite pushing Canada and almost winning silverware at Women's AmeriCup 2017, questions remain about how many top class players they have still remain. Their highly-respected coach Cristian Santander will have to work wonders and Meli Gretter must shine. They have also not competed at the event since back in 2010 so need to prove the doubters wrong.

13

(TUR) With youth teams struggling and now the pressure on the senior team to keep their place in the women’s basketball elite, are the wheels coming off? They’ve never played  previously without legendary pair Nevriye Yilmaz and Birsel Vardarli Demirmen at a major tournament, so maybe don’t have the firepower and experience needed. A spent and fading force perhaps?

14

(NGR) While new play-caller Otis Hughley brings experience of being an NBA Assistant and also coaching Chinese Taipei women, having a new coach so close to a major competition could disrupt their momentum from last year’s golden Continental glory. They have talent, but with Ndidi Madu also now retired, it’s hardly been ideal prep so far.

15

(PUR) As rookies, they have no tradition at all in the tournament and even if veteran Jerry Batista is able to get his players firing, surely Puerto Rico will find it an uphill struggle. They’re pre-occupied with hosting CentroBasket Women this weekend so don’t have their sights fixed on Tenerife – yet. Maybe a gold on home soil will lift them up our next rankings.

16

(SEN) Senegal will be sweating on 2017 Women’s AfroBasket MVP Astou Traore doing the business, because without her and Mame -Marie Sy Diop, they look very one dimensional and too easy to scout and lockdown at this level. They are also 2-13 across their last three trips to the competition – going 0 and 5 on their last appearance.

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author(s).

FIBA