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Will USA's global dominance continue at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup?
COLORADO SPRINGS (USA) - As the United States celebrated a seventh straight Olympic success in Tokyo, the triumph also handed them a ticket to the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup next year in Sydney.
Understandably, an intense focus on Sue Bird retiring and her fellow five-time Olympian Diana Taurasi keeping us all guessing about her future hogged the headlines - rather than pivoting the narrative directly to the USA's prospects at the next flagship event and joining host nation Australia.
As the dust settles on what unfolded in the Japanese capital and this latest glorious chapter for the USA, attention is now turning to whether they will continue their seemingly unstoppable harvesting of global titles.
It's just over 12 months until the action gets underway in Sydney and when the USA do take the court, you will have to push the rewind button 16 years for the last time they failed to occupy the top step of the podium.
Perhaps fittingly, it was Australia and the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 ambassador and legend Lauren Jackson who lifted the title trophy to conclude the 2006 Worlds.
However, this was very much an exception rather than the rule. Since the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, the Americans have captured 11 of the 12 global titles on offer. They have also generally done so being an undeniable tour de force.
With the remaining 10 tickets for next year are still to be decided via the highly anticipated FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments, only then we will all be able to assess the field. And, there will be no more pertinent question than whether anybody is capable of closing down the greatest dynasty in international women's basketball history?
We will soon find out and as everyone else scrambles for the last spots in the tournament, we'll sign off with the simple message to the USA of "See You in Sydney!"