FIBA World Cup: U.S. looks for fourth straight gold

Ariel Atkins is one of just a few members of the Olympic gold medal team who will suit up for Team USA. (Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup begins Wednesday, with the United States looking to win its fourth straight gold medal.

This marks Cheryl Reeve’s first tournament at the helm of the program since she took over from Dawn Staley last December. Team USA headlines Group A, which also includes Belgium, China, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Puerto Rico and South Korea.

On a 22-game winning streak at the World Cup, Team USA will put its signature depth on display again this tournament.

Veteran staples such as A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart will be joined by the likes of Sabrina Ionescu, Shakira Austin and Kahleah Copper. The addition of Austin comes after she, Aliyah Boston, Rhyne Howard and NaLyssa Smith all made waves in camp.

Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum will all make their way to Australia following the Las Vegas Aces’ championship celebrations, while Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones of the runner-up Connecticut Sun will also join the squad.

China or Belgium look set to fight for second place in Group A. Belgium, the fifth-ranked team in the world, is led by Emma Meesseman, who is fresh off a stellar season with the Chicago Sky.

Group B is stacked, with France, Serbia, Japan, Mali, Canada and Australia all fighting to advance to the knockout round. Japan, coming off an Olympic final last year, is the defending Asian champion, while Australia has home-court advantage on its side.

The Aussies also have the presence of veteran players such as Lauren Jackson, who is making her return to the world stage after returning from retirement earlier this year.

Mali is the lone underdog in this group, although the team does boast the talent of players such as Sika Kone.

Team USA preliminary round schedule

Note: All games listed in ET and broadcast on ESPN+.

  • Team USA vs. Belgium — Wednesday, Sept. 21, 9:30 p.m.
  • Team USA vs. Puerto Rico — Thursday, Sept. 22, 8:30 p.m.
  • Team USA vs. China — Saturday, Sept. 24, 12:30 a.m.
  • Team USA vs. South Korea — Monday, Sept. 26, 12 a.m.
  • Team USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina — Wednesday, Sept. 28, 12 a.m.