08 - 11
February 2024
WOQT 2024 Power Ranking Vol1
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FIBA WOQTs 2024 Smart Power Rankings, volume 1

MIES (Switzerland) - The FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024 are about to tip-off and so it's the perfect time to bring you one of the most challenging Smart Power Rankings in memory.

Considering all participating 16 teams including the all-important groups and matchups, respective rosters, expectations and somehow determining who might miss out on this year's Olympic Games in the 13-16 spots, here's how it's looking. 



#16 Senegal  SEN

Team Profile:
Will Senegal be a surprise package in Antwerp?

: Facing USA and Belgium in Antwerp, this looks close to impossible so it realistically will probably boil down to the opener against Nigeria. Finishing second at the FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2023, they have been largely dominated by their African rivals in recent years.  Even if they compete against USA and Belgium but don't get the win as anticipated, they may have just one shot at this, in one game. So, it's why they're sat at 16th.

BUT: They could swap spots with Nigeria (#12) because if they do compete and dig out a win against them, it would not be a massive shock. They are certainly due to turn the tide of form. What a first game it will be in Antwerp!

#15 New Zealand NZL

Team Profile: Will New Zealand make a splash?

: China will surely be rampant at home, France have their big-hitters back and Puerto Rico have shown their teeth at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022. So New Zealand are the underdogs here. They won't have the wider depth of options as their peers and especially without their two leading lights, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Penina Davidson. Having said that, they will be very effective in what they run, especially sideline and baseline plays, Guy Molloy will always have them so well drilled. 

BUT: They could swap spots with Puerto Rico (#11) because that will be the game they will be targeting for sure. It's winnable if the Tall Ferns play in top gear. Watch out for Tera Reed who was impactful at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2023. Also there is less pressure and expectation, so this opportunity is a free-hit.

#14 Brazil BRA

Team Profile: Playing at home, Brazil aims to return to the World stage

: Ouch! This ranking will hurt Brazilian pride as the home team and after winning FIBA Women's AmeriCup Women 2023 gold. However, the rationale is that Australia are an experienced with huge quality, Serbia always find a way to get it done and Germany have added both Satou and Nyara Sabally . That is three real tough games for Brazil.

Other clinical facts maybe tough to swallow are that last year's title win was in a competition against a significantly weakened Canada and USA - as well as Brazil having not been at the global level via a qualifying process in 10 years. 

BUT:  They could realistically swap spots with Serbia (#10) or Germany (#9) because Jose Neto and his players have still done a fabulous job and are a nation on the rise. That is absolutely unquestionable. They are most certainly capable of winning a game and especially with the fabulous Kamilla Soares to lead the way. 

#13 Hungary HUN

Team Profile: Have Hungary got what it takes to end their 44-year wait?

: Come on, it's the 'Group of Death' so don't be too down Hungary fans. You are only in a spot to miss out on the Olympics by the finest possible margin. The rationale is that Japan took silver at the last OIympics and Continental event, Canada made the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Semi-Finals and Spain made the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 Final and have now added Megan Gustafson. That't tough! Real tough!

BUT: The good news is that these group standings can be diced up in so many different ways. If Hungary play to their potential, control any nerves or weight of expectation, stay strong mentally and rotate their impressive frontcourt of Hatar, Goree, Kiss and Juhasz well, they might win in Sopron - more than once. That's life in the 'Group of Death'!

#12 Nigeria  NGR

Team Profile: Will Nigeria lock down a third Olympic Games appearance?

: Nigeria have had Senegal's number for a long time and really managed to conquer them regularly at the Continental level. If this continues, they can get the win they need to advance. But it will be a monumental battle. Nigeria are likely to be led by FIBA Women's AfroBasket MVP, Amy Akonkwo, but they will need to produce more than her probably team leading displays if they want to get to France. 

BUT: They have to be ready. As the clash with Senegal is the first game, a lot could depend on preparation and while Nigeria have been dominant, it would not be a shock of any kind if they did lose to their African rivals. 

#11 Puerto Rico  Puerto Rico 

Team Profile: Can Puerto Rico outshine it's 2022 summer success?

: Having managed to break new ground with their displays at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022, it's probably only right that Puerto Rico are in these rankings as just sliding through ahead of New Zealand - but it is far from being a done deal. A long way from that. However, Puerto Rico do have two seriously classy and productive performers in Arella Guirantes who will patrol the backcourt and Mya Hollingshed in the paint. The pair are the potentially the difference-makers. 

BUT: The supporting cast can't take a step back and leave it to their twin turbos of Guirantes and Hollingshed. Plus they are realistically in a shootout with the Tall Ferns. Fall short in this one and they'll likely miss out altogether. 

#10 Serbia SRB   

Team Profile: Serbia's road to third Olympic showcase

: Coach Marina Maljkovic and her teams always seem to find a way to get the job done - even when it looks like they are ready to take a step backwards - namely because of being in transition with new players coming into the mix. It's going to be a massive challenge in Brazil for them and that is why the experience of guard Yvonne Anderson and center Tina Krajisnik will be especially precious. 

Outside of those two, watch out for Jovana Nogic who has been tearing it up in EuroCup Women with Besiktas and other players who have been in-form in EuroLeague Women such as Dragana Stankovic and Masa Jankovic. 

BUT: The Plan B if Anderson isn't at her best is questionable and so there is a lot of pressure on her shoulders to lead Serbia to at least one victory. 

#9 Germany GER

Team Profile: Germany dream of first Olympic appearance

: Germany are an ambitious nation on the up after their impressive top six finish at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 when playcaller Lisa Thomaidis enjoyed an eye-catching debut at the helm. As the host of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2026, a historic first Olympic Games appearance would really be extra well-timed.

On the floor, Leonie Fiebich is having a brilliant club season, was great last summer, while Marie Guelich will continue adding quality. But with Satou and Nyara Sabally also joining the party, Germany will have arguably the best frotncourt rotation in Brazil. That is where their strength will lie for sure. And, they could be ready to make history.

BUT: If other teams play a bit of zone defense, someone has to step up and make some shots. Also Germany arguably don't have a primary playmaker who is balling at the very top level right now. 

#8 Japan  JPN

Team Profile: Will Japan be ready to jump back on track?

: Having missed the Quarter-Finals at the Worlds 18 months ago and then having returned to Sydney to relinquish their long-standing grip on the FIBA Women's Asia Cup, Japan need to get back on the page. Being placed in this 'Group of Death' is not helpful and they will face teams with some serious size and talent in the paint.

Consequently Japan must use their defensive intensity, ball pressure, transition, spacing and three-point shooting to get onto the front foot. They have many players to watch with Saki Hayashi. Maki Takada, Himawari Akaho, Mai Yamamoto and others - but it's always the team concept that brings Japan success.

BUT: They really do need to do a top job on the defensive glass. That is a key source of their success. If they can't get out and run, it could be tough. A bruising half-court game is like kryptonite for Japan.

#7 Canada  CAN  

Team Profile: Go-time for Canada as they try to sustain Sydney progress

: The run to the Semi-Finals of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup was impressive and head coach Victor Lapena has injected some energy and something a little different into this team. Full of smiles throughout their time in Sydney, they will be confident of navigating this immensely demanding group in Sopron.

Kayla Alexander and Natalie Achonwa are a rock in the paint, with Bridget Carleton ready to fire from downtown and Kia Nurse a scroing threat from the backcourt. There's plenty more outside of that, including some exciting young guns too.

BUT: This could go brilliantly well for Canada, but like every nation at this particular tournament, missing out on a ticket would not be a massive shock. With Achonwa back from maternity leave and Nurse not playing club basketball overseas, it will be fascinating to see if they can turn up the dial.

#6 Spain  ESP

Team Profile: Spain searching for global return after skipping Sydney

: Some might see this as slightly generous taking into account that they didn't even feature at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 and are in the most challenging of all the groups. But there is no doubt that they're on the way back after that silver at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023.

Their main issue was being thin on the paint and Megan Gustafson will help resolve that immensely. With the in-form Laura Gil and Raquel Carrera, that is a nice frontcourt rotation. The experience and talent of Alba Torrens and Maria Conde on the wings is vital and the backcourt takes care of itself with Maite Cazorla Cristina Ouvina. 

BUT: Clutch is the question. It's going to be potentially very tight in this group and if it comes down to the big moments at the end of games, who's playcaller Miguel Mendez going to ask to make the clutch shots? Torrens is always there to deliver, but who would be next up? 

#5 Australia  AUS  

Team Profile: Australia starts as the on-paper favorite

: Coming off the back of that memorable bronze medal at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, the Opals have a few players unavailable but on the whole, Sandy Brondello has so many options to choose from. Ezi Magbegor is on fire in EuroLeague Women, the legendary Lauren Jackson is back to continue her stunning legacy and there are some exciting youngsters too.

Meanwhile in between there are lots of players who have all seen and done it before. Their surely favorites to come out on top in Belem - although it won't be easy.

BUT: This is still a very tough group for the Opals, even if they are the favorites to get it done. Plus, while any team that has a wealth of options is a positive, it also means Coach Brondello will have to find her best five at the key moments and it will be interesting who that end's up being. 

#4 France    

Team Profile: Unlocking potential: France's pursuit of the winning formula

: They're already qualified as the Olympic Games host nation so are assured of their place and a high ranking. Plus, they should be confident of beating both New Zealand and Puerto Rico, as well as giving China a competitive game.

Throw in the return of Marine Johannes and Gabby Williams and things are very positive right now. It's also going to be super competitive for French players to make the 12 this summer and so everyone will be looking to really find their best face when they step out in Xi'An.

BUT: One of the main question's that will face France is how they stand up during testing times. Linked to the weight of expectation they will face at the Olympics, China are likely to ask France some serious questions and put them under pressure. Will they stand strong and show they are podium contenders again?

#3 Belgium  BEL   

Team Profile: Will the Belgian Cats breathe fire in front of record-breaking crowds?

: Riding the wave of that first ever FIBA Women's EuroBasket title last year, Belgium have the capacity to leave both Nigeria and Senegal trailing and rubber-stamp safe passage to only their second ever Olympic Games.

They will have unprecedented home support behind them and those fans will get to see a special player and leader in Emma Meesseman. Meanwhile Julie Vanloo and Julie Allemand will star in the backcourt, Antonia Delaere will do the business on the wing and Kyara Linskens will drop anchor in the paint. If they play with fluency the way they can, they are hard to live with. 

BUT: Belgium lost at home in the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2025 Qualifiers to Poland last November. Their homecoming party was ruined. It was a wake-up call. So they need to fire and impose themselves in this competition on home soil. Everyone needs to bring it. 

#2 China  CHN  

Team Profile:
Can anybody slow down China on their home court?

: Second in the world in Sydney in 2022 and playing on their home court, China look to be on course for supremacy in their Group and will march into another Olympic Games. The trio of Xu Han, Yueru Li and Meng Li will surely lead the way and watch out for the return of Sijing Huang in the forward spot too. Talented, deep and with home support, who's stopping them?

BUT: There aren't any right now other than a test against France. We're calling China an absolute lock!

#1 USA  USA  

Team Profile: Will USA show their teeth and dominate in Antwerp?

: Come on, you really need it spelled out? Dripping in star dust, more talented and deeper than any other team in the world. USA are the nation that set the standard and regularly continue to raise the bar higher and higher. The reining FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup champions and chasing an 8th Olympic title in succession. Wow!

BUT: There aren't really any, although the potential fly in the ointment is not being at their best against the Cats who could push them hard if Belgium find a high gear.

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

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen

The FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024 Power Rankings are put together by our EXPERT PANEL, led by FIBA's women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen. He eats, sleeps and breathes female hoops and is incredibly passionate about the promotion of the women's game at all levels. Paul uses an extensive network of players, coaches, clubs and Federations to shape his work and opinions.