The FIBA Girls's Basketball 2018 World Cup event kicked off Saturday in Tenerife, Spain, and Group USA is heading in the right direction to make historical past.

The squad of 12 is on a quest for a 3rd consecutive championship—one thing the American ladies have by no means earlier than achieved. To this point, they’re on observe, beating Group Senegal in Saturday’s opener by 20 factors, and Group China by 12 factors in a sport yesterday.

Right here, historical past and background on the USA Basketball Girls's Nationwide Group, what lies forward for them within the 16-team event, and extra data on the World Cup, together with how and when to look at.

The FIBA Girls’s Basketball World Cup, previously often known as the Basketball World Championship for Girls, is the most important worldwide ladies’s basketball competitors.

“World wide, it’s the highest-level event you’ll be able to play in,” Carol Callan, director of the USA Basketball Girls’s Nationwide Group, tells SELF. Equally to the Olympics, the World Cup is held each 4 years in several host cities across the globe. In accordance with FIBA archives, because the inaugural event in 1953, solely 4 nations have ever clinched gold: the U.S., Russia, Brazil, and Australia. The U.S. at the moment holds the report for probably the most titles with 9, adopted by Russia (six) and Brazil and Australia (one every).

The week-plus-long event is usually held in late September, and consists of 16 groups with the very best observe data from throughout FIBA's 4 areas: Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

This yr’s American World Cup group was fashioned simply a number of weeks in the past, and consists of a mixture of veterans and newcomers.

In accordance with Callan, a gaggle of 20-something WNBA gamers had been invited to tryouts on September 2 in Columbia, South Carolina. The ultimate World Cup roster of 12 was decided over the course of practices and exhibition video games performed throughout the next weeks. Gamers had been lower, and new gamers had been added as extra athletes grew to become obtainable because the WNBA playoffs got here to an in depth. The ultimate roster consists of each veterans-slash-legends and athletes who’ve by no means earlier than performed on a World Cup group.

Gamers within the former group embody Sue Chook of the Seattle Storm and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, each four-time Olympians and “two of the very best gamers ever in ladies’s basketball,” per USA Basketball. “They’re the center and soul of our group,” provides Callan.

Different veterans embody Tina Charles of the New York Liberty, Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm, who was just lately named the 2018 WNBA MVP.

Newcomers embody A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces (who, at 22, is the youngest member of the squad), Kelsey Plum, additionally of the Las Vegas Aces, Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm, and Layshia Clarendon and Morgan Tuck, each of the Connecticut Solar.

The group first performed collectively lower than every week in the past (!) in a pre-tournament scrimmage towards Australia on Wednesday, September 21, per ESPN.

That quick interval of preparation, which is essentially unavoidable because of the gamers’ WNBA commitments, is difficult on the group dynamic, says Callan. “In a group sport, you want time collectively to develop camaraderie,” she explains. “Final Wednesday was actually the primary time we finalized the group, and that’s a brief time period for preparation.”

One other problem that the American athletes face is adapting to the completely different types of play utilized by athletes from different nations. “Within the U.S., there may be typically one fashion of play,” explains Callan. “However within the World Cup, there are a number of types of play, and it may be tough to adapt to them. Different nations have gotten higher and higher and higher. It’s important to actually be sharp.”

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Because the event started on Saturday on the Quico Cabrera Enviornment in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, each veteran and new athletes have led the group.

Standouts from the Senegal sport embody Ogwumike, who tried 10 pictures—and made all 10—together with six baskets from the sector and 4 from the free throw line for a complete of 16 factors. Her 6-for-6 taking pictures tied a USA Basketball World Cup report set in 1998 by Lisa Leslie and matched in 2002 by Natalie Williams, per USA Basketball.

Veteran Delle Donne was the best scorer of the Senegal sport with 19 factors, and newcomer Wilson, just lately named the 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Yr, contributed 15 factors.

Within the face-off towards China, Olympic gold medalist Breanna Stewart, who just lately received her first WNBA title with the Seattle Storm, led the group in scoring with 23 factors, six rebounds and 4 assists, per TeamUSA.org. Wilson stepped up once more, contributing 20 factors, six rebounds, three blocks, and three steals, and Charles added one other 16 factors, in keeping with USA Basketball.

A win for Group USA at this yr’s World Cup would go down within the historical past books.

Sunday’s win towards China certified Group USA for the quarterfinals and introduced the group’s successful streak on the World Cup to 18 video games. That stated, the sport was an in depth one, and the 12-point margin marked the closest match between the groups in 35 years, per USA Basketball.

If Group USA can clinch gold this yr, it should mark their 10th victory on the World Cup, and as talked about, the primary time the American group has ever received 3 times in a row.

Such a feat would have “nice significance,” says Callan. “It will solidify the group’s status and we now have numerous gamers who’ve been in a number of World Cups, so it might solidify them as nice gamers over time.”

The squad must win three extra video games this week to make that occur, and their largest threats shifting ahead are France, Spain, and Australia, says Callan.

Right here’s how and when to look at the remainder of the event.

The event continues by way of Sunday, and Group USA performs once more tomorrow (Tuesday), going through off towards Latvia (0-2), at 1 P.M. ET. The quarterfinals might be on Friday, September 28, the semifinals might be on Saturday, September 29, and the finals might be on Sunday, September 30 at three P.M. ET, per ESPN.

You’ll be able to catch highlights on FIBA’s official YouTube channel, and watch the motion stay by way of LiveBasketball.television (subscription wanted). The vast majority of the video games from the event may even be broadcast on ESPN+, and the finals will air on ESPN.