26 June, 2023
02 July
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FIBA Women's Asia Cup Power Rankings; Volume 3

SYDNEY (Australia) - The FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2023 is about to get super serious after the completion of the Group phase and that means only one thing - sound the Power Rankings klaxon.

Taking into account the latest  game performances, as well as Volume 2 of the Power Rankings, it's been a difficult task to put together the list and decide who gets the medals and who misses out - as well of course, which nation might fall through the trap door to Division B.

So with no further delay, it's time to scroll down and find out exactly why the rankings have been chosen as we all get ready for the last few days of the competition.

#1 Japan  JPN  (+1) 


Tournament Record:  3-0
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 9th

The way that Japan dismantled Australia in the last group game suggests that they are the team to beat once again and you have to surely favor them to take their sixth straight title. The emergence of guard Mai Yamamoto has been one of the most pleasing aspects for fans, while 2021 MVP team leader Himawari Akaho is doing Himawari Akaho things like usual.

Their three-point shooting has been truly spectacular. They are averaging more than 43 percent from long-range, averaging almost 15 triples per game which is mind blowing. Of course, that takes exceptional levels of good spacing, ball movement and intensity to be that locked in. There are plenty of options for head coach Toru Onzuka which is another positive, but there is one massive area for improvement. Incredibly despite their energy, ball pressure and range of guards available, they are the worst team in the tournament for steals with just 5.7 per game.

#2 China CHN (-1)


Tournament Record: 3-0
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 2nd

China have generally been impressive and of course. Xu Han has looked like the MVP in waiting with some absolutely stunning contributions. The center looks unstoppable and is showing she can be of the best players in the world when she is playing with confidence. Similarly, Meng Li has also been superb and basically the duo have formed the one-two punch that has taken their team directly to the Semi-Finals. Although to be fair, in terms of sharing the ball, China had done it pretty well and they lead in assists - maybe not a massive surprise as one pass to Han in the paint and you can take that money to the bank!

But China don't look like they have that important consistent third scorer or Plan B. What happens if Xu Han has even one ordinary game, struggles with an injury or gets into foul trouble? The way they beat Korea in overtime was impressive after they were down by double-digits, but the cold hard facts are that nobody else looking like stepping up and in the pas, China would have swept past Korea - or at least with Yueru Li and Sijing Huang in their team. They can still win gold but the absence of these two regular starters is showing.

#3 Australia AUS  (-)


Tournament Record: 2-1
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 3rd

That was a tough loss against Japan but it was no wake-up call as it was not wholly unexpected. The margin of the loss is what disappoints, but Japan can take games away from anybody. Their 17-0 run was devastating and the Opals just had no answer. The margin for error has gone and now the pressure comes cascading onto the players. They can and surely will stand up and bounce back in the Qualification for the Semi-Finals and then if they do it, in the Semi-Finals themselves and the bronze medal game - or can they really make the Final? It feels like all options are on the table right now. Maybe it depends on who steps up in the clutch.

The positives are their strength on the glass and overall as a team, they have shot the ball pretty well - both inside and out. Things are progressing according to the script, with no standout leader and with three ballers averaging around 10 points, There have been some nice displays from the bigs especially, but a lack of elite level guards in terms of the experience and the quickness needed to guard a team like Japan is worrying.  Yet despite being soundly beaten, it does not make the Opals a bad team overnight. They have what it takes to get back onto the podium. Especially if the great home crowd in Sydney gets behind them - and they will need to in the Qualification For The Semi Finals. They will face a highly dangerous and motivated Korea who are out to spoil the party. Intriguing!

#4 New Zealand NZL (+1) 


Tournament Record: 2-1
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 29th

You have to hand it to Guy Molloy and his team for their Group Phase campaign because that nail-biting opening day win against Korea was priceless. Their opponent subsequently taking China to overtime makes it even more impressive and taking second place in the Group, they can now look forward to trying to ride into the Semi-Finals, albeit against a dangerous Philippines team full of confidence. A top four finish would represent progress and much of what they have done so far has been predictably built on Penina Davidson being the anchor in the paint, plus Charlisse Leger-Walker leading from the backcourt.

There have been some really nice cameos too, with Tahlia Tupea coming to the party in the last group game in particular, while Tera Reed has been solid. Now New Zealand have to avoid any complacency and must also look to improve their free-throw shooting which could prove costly if their mediocre percentage continues. They must also look after the ball better because only Lebanon have spilled it more. Overall though, they are well placed and if they knuckle down mentally, opportunity knocks - loudly!

#5 Korea KOR (-1)


Tournament Record: 1-2
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 12th

This feels a little harsh. since Korea could have genuinely been 3-0 and heading directly into the Semi-Finals, but here they are, perhaps only finishing in fifth spot. Of course, if they play like they did in that OT loss to China, they could render these Power Rankings as void and move their way to a medal. It looks like a real blockbuster against Australia in the Qualification For The Semi-Finals and you would not back against Korea upsetting the hosts.

In general, you have to love what Korea have done. They have shot decent, looked after the ball, made some shots inside and out, rebounded proficiently and have just not been able to get it done at the death in that close loss to New Zealand and then against China. Ji Su Park has impressed as expected- but what about her namesake Jihyun? She has been excellent and it has been the 23-year-old's best ever tournament for her country. 

#6 Philippines PHI (+1) 


Tournament Record: 1-2
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 42nd

WHAT. A. WIN.Yes, with everyone predicting Philippines having to play in the 7-8 Classification Game to avoid falling into Division B,  it's the Qualification For The Semi-Finals instead. The Day 3 victory against Chinese Taipei was just epic and it felt like a landmark moment. Jack Animam who never missed a shot and accumulated her first ever double-double at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup summed up the mood perfectly. She spoke about how Philippines women's basketball are no longer pushovers, about the legacy they can leave, how she told herself she would post her best ever game in as national team vest - and she did. It was breathtaking.

Of course, she was not alone. The addition of Vanessa De Jesus has a masterstroke. Her smarts and backcourt scoring power and creative ability has made the difference. But what about Avril Bernardino? She was awesome in the famous victory too. Overall, this next game is like a 'free hit' for Philippines when they face New Zealand. The pressure is off. Mission has been completed ahead of schedule. But there's a new mission now. And, imagine the headline ...'Pilipinas Make Semi-Finals'. Well, they're just 40 minutes away. 

#7 Lebanon  LBN  (+1) 

Tournament Record:   0-3
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 70th

For Lebanon and Chinese Taipei, note the shorter notes. It's simply because the result on Friday will say it all. Both have no wins and whoever signs off with a victory survives and whoever leaves without a victory will be in Division B for 2025. That would hurt Lebanon in particular having only just been promoted. They get the nod to survive on the simple basis that surely they have one decent display in them? Few if any players have performed to their maximum level. Also if Lebanon can look after the ball and stop throwing it away, as well as actually making some three-point shots, they might do it. 

#8 Chinese Taipei TPE (-2)


2021 Edition Record: 0-3
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 33rd

As it states above for Lebanon, this is no longer about stats or opinions or evaluations. Nothing matters but getting the victory and of course, Chinese Taipei have every chance of beating Lebanon. It's feeling like a 50-50 game in truth. Losing to Philippines was not a great sign, but with Yu-Ting Lin lighting it up, maybe she can take her nation to what would be a massively important success. The main message would be 'box out' because a lack of rebounding has hurt them. It might prove fatal if they don't improve this in their last outing in Sydney. It's going to be such a nervous game...

*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 Asia Cup 2023 Power Rankings are put together by our 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.