22 September, 2022
01 October
WWC 2022 Power Rankings 5
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Power Rankings: FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, Volume 5

SYDNEY (Australia) - The Group Phase of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 has ended and ahead of the Quarter-Finals its time for our last volume of the Power Rankings.

This update takes into account Volume 4 of the rankings, tournament results so far, performances against expectations and of course, the draw for the Quarter-Finals and subsequent bracket. 

#12 Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bosnia and Herzegovina (-5)

Tournament Record: Won 0  Lost 5 

Bosnia and Herzegovina played little to no defense and got exactly what that deserved. The anticipated fairytale was a nightmare in the end. Yes, they had Jonquel Jones arrive late and limited preparation, but if your main player is getting double teamed, you just can't keep missing layups when other players are open. It was not good enough. Collective responsibility must be taken for it. 

Winless and suffering some heavy defeats it was a first tournament to forget

Anyone who had not seen them play previously were all asking how this team could have beaten Belgium twice in 2021 and then lose to Puerto Rico and Korea. Not just lose, but get hammered. Every team statistic is bad and tells the story. Now they have to respond because they need to pick themselves back up quickly and get ready for November's FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers.

#11 Mali  Mali (+1)

Tournament Record: Won 0  Lost 5

Mali arrived as huge underdogs and in the dreaded 'Group of Death'. Unlike Bosnia and Herzegovina, they might have been winless, but can at least take great pride in their competitiveness, making several teams work incredibly hard to get a result against them, albeit with the odd fail like against Australia.

Sika Kone enhanced her growing reputation with some excellent contributions for the underdogs

With a limited talent pool and preparation, they did a solid job with what they had and credit should go to the coaching staff and players for that. Sika Kone did not put up big numbers in ever game, but her 18-point and 18-rebound display against France had people discussing if she was the best player in Africa. Mali certainly showed a fighting spirit and will want to be back in 2026.

#10 Korea KOR(+1)

Tournament Record: Won 1 Lost 4

Korea arrived without Jisu Park and at times it was impossible for them trying to defend the basket and matchup with opposing 'bigs'. That was predictable of course. What was more unpredictable was that Leeseul Kang would step up and break the All-Time efficiency record in a game by shooting the lights out in a fabulous win against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Leeseul Kang broke the All-Time efficiency record and was a major bright spot for Korea

Her 44 efficiency was amazing and that win ended an 11 game losing streak for Korea that stretched back to 2010. A word for Danbi Kim too as the long-serving forward waved goodbye after terrific service down the years. Overall there were some bad losses, but Korea did about as well a they reasonably could in their situation and without their marquee player Jisu.

#9 Japan  JPN(-5)

Tournament Record: Won 1  Lost 4

What to say about Japan? Not just last year's Olympic Finalists failing to make the Quarter-Finals, but disintegrating so much that their hopes were ended with a day to spare of the Group Phase. They were a pale shadow of their former selves and lacked the discipline of recent years. Their identity was hard to associate with in just about every single way.

Maki Takada was top scorer for Japan with just 9.4 points per game

Some good switching up defensively was a positive, but offensively they were a disaster zone. Not sprinting like previous years in transition and with the guards spending far too much time dribbling and in and out and allowing the opposing defense to get settled, it was a far cry from the impressive ball movement and sharpness of before. Nobody averaged double-digits and that is way beyond logic or comprehension. They really, really missed Rui Machida pulling the strings like last year with her record-breaking shows in Tokyo, plus Saki Hayashi's unconventional shooting and then of course, the leadership of former head coach Tom Hovasse.

#8 Serbia SRB   (+1)

Tournament Record: Won 3  Lost 2

What did we write in the last volume of the rankings when we had them in 9th and just missing out on the knockout phase?  "...don't be surprised if [Marina] Maljkovic and her players do it and make this ranking look ridiculous..." Well they climbed the mountain and with this new look team containing plenty of younger and inexperienced players they got wins against Japan, Mali and France. 

The experienced Sasa Cado has lit it up from long range and made the Gameday 4 Top Performers

They deserve to be higher than France in this list. But the law of the Power Ranking Jungle is that if you get USA in the Quarter-FInals, you're 8th as you have the least chance of progressing. Tough, but true. Yvonne Anderson has been doing her usual thing in the backcourt, Tina Krajisnik has been an anchor in the paint and there have been some excellent cameo contributions from Sasa Cado and Jovana Nogic. Plus. Coach Maljkovic has not only done a great role on the floor, mixing up her starting fives most notably, but has spoken as well, if not better than anyone else at the media conferences. Why does that matter? Well, if she speaks like that publically she must be particualrly compelling inside the locker room. 

#7 France    (+1)

Tournament Record: Won 3  Lost 2

What a roller-coaster this has been. Losing Marine Johannes on the eve of the tournament was a big blow, but having Gabby Williams emerge as the team's new leader has been something of real hope and joy. It's quite the task to assess where France are at right now. Plenty of good things like their wins against Australia and Japan, but also disappointments too.

Gabby Williams has stepped up as the new leader for France

France should be kicking themselves though. Their atrocious lack of offensive rebounding is making life so difficult and without second chance point opportunities they are averaging just 6 offensive boards and overall 63 points per game. Very little production off the bench has also been an issue. Now they face China who blew them out big-style at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade six months or so ago. If they don't stand up physically to China, then France are toast.

#6 Puerto Rico  Puerto Rico (+4)

Tournament Record: Won 2  Lost 3

Crazy to put Puerto Rico so high in the rankings - right? No, wrong. This is a team that took apart European 5th placed side Bosnia and Herzegovina with Jonquel Jones in it. They battered Korea and only just missed out on beating European bronze medalists Belgium in what was a one-shot game. Sure, they are big underdogs against Canada. But having made history with their first ever win, then a historic Quarter-Finals ticket - why can this fairytale not continue?

Mya Hollingshed has produced some huge displays for Puerto Rico in her first FIBA tournament

Anyone still not convinced, take into account that after losing their first ever game in the competition just four years ago by 50 points  they find themselves in the Quarter-Finals at the next edition. Arella Guirantes has been All-Star Five material and certainly the MVP of Group A, while Mya Hollingshed has been a wonderful naturalized addition. Both have made all the difference, but also the team as a whole have played well. With those two leading it. Congrats to Coach Gerry Batista and his staff, Whatever happens and even if they lose to Canada which is the most likely outcome, they've made a whole island proud and at a difficult time after Hurricane Fiona.

#5 Belgium  BEL   (-)

Tournament Record: Won 2  Lost  2

Belgium have done a decent job but were rocked by the immeasurable loss of  leader Emma Meesseman to injury, which lessens their chance of progress in the competition for sure. Repeating their run to the Semis on their debut at the last edition will be tough and not least because they're going up against a frontcourt strong Opals. They needed all hands on deck under the basket with Meesseman, so the loss feels even more huge.

Julie Allemand has an eye-catching 6.2 assists per game for the Cats

The big upside is that Kyara Linskens has chosed the perfect time to step up and show her best form in a Cats' jersey. She has been terrific so far and will need to have a monster game against Australia. The guards have blown hot and cold, with Julie Allemand, Julie Vanloo and Hind Ben Abdelkader up and down with some excellent things and some mediocre things. But on their day, they can certainly take the initiative against Australia in the backcourt. Belgium have shot the ball well as a team and need to do so again.

#4 Canada  CAN  (+2)

Tournament Record: Won 4 Lost 1

There is a lot to love about Canada right now and they look to be on course for that potential podium spot that they probably should have been challenging for these past years. Victor Lapena seems to have really galvanized this team and even with one of his stars in Kia Nurse not fully firing and 100 percent, he has found a role for her. Maximum kudos must go to point guards Shay Colley and Nirra Fields. They have been so good and even if nothing spectacular, they are just absolutely hard-nosed and tough to score on. 

 Shay Colley doesn't get many headlines but has been so solid in the backcourt for Canada

With Bridget Carleton warming up nicely on the wing and forward Kayla Alexander averaging a tournament double-double, they look well set for success. The main area of ocncern is not finishing at the hoop and they are the second worst team for 2-point shooting in the competition. However, considering many thought this would be a team in transition, if they reach the last four we can say that the evolution under Lapena has been fast-tracked. Impressive stuff so far.

#3 Australia  AUS  (-1)

Tournament Record: Won 4 Lost 1

The Opals have shown a lot of resilience to bounce back from their opening night disappointment against France. You could hear the air coming out of the bubble at the time, but they have blown it back up impressively with four consecutive wins to top Group B. You have to respect their teamwork, the defense and even if they maybe don't have a true go-to player for the clutch, their team ethic is winning out right now. 

The Opals need Ezi Magbegor on top form like when she blocked 5 shots against Canada

It's only a very slight move downwards (back to the 3rd spot they were two volumes ago) due to a combination of Bec Allen maybe being sore and not 100 percent, plus how good China have looked. They needed Serbia to do them a favor beating France to avoid USA in the Quarter-Finals and Serbia delivered - only to get USA themselves of course. Anyways, the Opals have a huge opportunity in front of them. But for a podium step to be taken, they really need Ezi Magbegor at her best. They have a different dimension to their game when she is on her game. Belgium will pose a problem, but they are favorites to maybe meet China in the Semi-Finals. Seat belts on!

#2 China  CHN  (+1) 

Tournament Record: Won 4  Lost 1

China have really impressed with convincing victories aside from that loss to USA in which they had a terrrible start but composed themselves impressively to get a foothold in the game. Meng Li looks to be back leading the team and that is great news for China and for neutrals as her do-it-all game gets fans on the edge of their seats. 

Li Meng is leading China with style again and has been one of their most impressive performers

Xu Han has been hot and Yueru Li looks now ready to move back up to top gear as well. They look a lock to finish with a medal on their Group Stage form and they will really blow it this time if they don't get into the podium steps. It's whether they have the mental strength and especially in any clutch moments to get through the challenges ahead. Rematch with USA in the Final perhaps? If they do get to the title game, the support for China will be incredible and it might just feel like a home game for them.

#1 USA  USA  (-)

Tournament Record: Won 5  Lost 0

USA have lost some veteran stars and while replenished with less experience, they certainly seem to have more collective defensive power, intensity and energy. The team has gotten better and better, with head coach Cheryl Reeve happy to play a more up tempo game than previous play-callers.  That express train shows no signs of slowing down anytime yet.

Kelsey Plum arrived late into the camp but has been making up for lost time with excellent contributions

USA broke the all-time scoring record with that 145 points against Korea, they have beaten their own winning streak of 27 games (so far) while many players have contributed, with Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, A'Ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Breanna Stewart looking ominously good. Although others have also shone. It is theirs to lose and it's tough to see anything other than the usual USA gold.

*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 Basketball World Cup 2022 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.