The top 20 stars to play at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup; Places 20-16
MADRID (Spain) - The FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup has seen some incredible players over the course of almost 40 years, but who are the biggest stars to have stepped out at the event?
We've somehow tried to narrow down the field to 20 leading contenders, mixing it up across all continents and covering all four decades or so of action.
In what will be a four-part series leading up to the action at this year's edition tipping off in Madrid during July, here's the first installment covering places 20-16.
20. Erika De Souza, Brazil (2001)
The only South American baller in the chart, De Souza is a Brazilian legend who has been their go-to player for the past 10-15 years, only retiring from the senior national team in 2022 after a glittering career that saw her play in all the major competitions. The center competed in #FIBAU19 action back in 2001 in the Czech Republic, giving a glimpse of the future. She posted a superb tournament double-double of more than 16 points and 10 boards per game as Brazil posted a winning 4-3 record, finishing in 7th place
19. Sika Kone, Mali (2019 and 2021)
It's incredible to think just two years ago, Kone was still playing #FIBAU19, and less than a year ago she was showing African basketball in the best light by starring at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney. Her super showings were reminiscent of the power-packed play she posted not only in Debrecen in 2021, but also in Bangkok in 2019. Few, if any, players have come up with such consistently phenomenal numbers.
And how about this: over both editions, she has averaged 17.3 points and 14.4 boards per game.
18. Xu Han, China (2017)
The towering frame of China's center doing serious damage to her opponents had already been seen at #FIBAU17 a year earlier in Zaragoza, so most people knew what was coming in 2017 in Udine at #FIBAU19. Her incredible height, mobility, and sweet shooting touch were all on show as she racked up a tournament double-double of 15.9 points and 11 boards per game. She then debuted a year later at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, also making the Final of the competition last year. It's been quite a journey.
17. Yueru Li, China (2017)
It's hard to separate these two China stars - the future for the next decade at the highest level, as they showed in helping their country take the silver medal in Sydney last year at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. Unlike her teammate, Li actually made her FIBA global youth debut in Udine in 2017 and a modest showing helped China to finish 7th. Since then, she has arguably surpassed Han in terms of minutes and influence at the senior level. In reality, both are so different to separate talent-wise being such different players.
16. Michele Timms, Australia (1985)
Inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016, Timms is always in the conversation about who is the best Opals player ever. She featured at #FIBAU19 at the inaugural edition in 1985 when Australia claimed sixth place with a 2-4 record. A solid if unspectacular offering was no sign of what would follow in a fantastic career that witnessed multiple FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Olympic appearances. She eventually stepped out for Australia 264 times and was seen as a trailblazer for ballers in her homeland.