Six things we appreciated or learned from the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup

Women's Basketball World Cup you need to know

It’s been called the best FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup ever, but what are the things we enjoyed and learned the most from a highly successful event in Sydney?

We chose three things we simply had to love about you, as well as three things we’ve discovered about you.

The fable of Lauren Jackson

The legendary Opals player Lauren Jackson’s miraculous comeback and career ending will be the subject of much discussion for years to come from both a player and story viewpoint. As if breaking the competition’s appearance record on the final day, or climbing into the top three All-Time scorers in FIBA Women’s Basketball Women on the first night, wasn’t enough. In her final game, she scores those 30 points in front of a sizable and enthusiastic home crowd to win a bronze medal.

What we may adore the most is that, when speaking with us after the game, she expressed her eagerness to return to her primary duties of coaching younger girls in basketball and motivating the next generation. When this narrative was initially mentioned, a select few people felt it might just be plausible, but not even a Hollywood movie producer could have honestly conceived this script.

Fears about the retirement of USA legends were unfounded

Yes, any optimism for the rest of the world that the departure of renowned duo Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, as well as a slew of other seasoned players, would slow the USA down was dashed. In fact, the United States were even more dynamic, hard-nosed, and defensively brilliant than before.

And, with ballers like Breanna Stewart and A’Ja Wilson holding it, the torch, baton, or whatever you want to call it (maybe the legacy and tradition) is as safe as it could be. We thought they’d still be the squad to beat, but it felt like this tournament taught us that, rather than lowering the bar, this bunch raised it! And most forebodingly. Cheryl Reeve emphasized that this team will only get better and that they have a lot of fine tuning to do! In two years, will anyone even come close in Paris?

History and records are collapsing

What a fantastic tournament for numbers and followers of historical records – from the distant past, when Lauren Jackson became the third leading scorer of all-time, to the more recent ones, when Leeseul Kang of Korea broke the game-high efficiency mark. It continued even as the competition entered its final two days. Following the United States’ semi-final triumph, China’s Xu Han equaled China’s all-time game-high blocks record.

We closed with LJ tying the all-time record for most appearances, and it was difficult to keep up with so many figures being equaled or surpassed! So many talking points, none more so than the astounding 145,519 people who attended the event.


China will attack the United States in the next years

We simply asked if anyone could come close to the USA, and even Coach Reeve acknowledged China’s efforts to win silver in Sydney. Given that they were missing their most prominent player, Meng Li, and that the majority of their lineup is still very inexperienced at the highest level, they performed admirably. They played excellent basketball, and with the incredible support of the Chinese fans, it was a potent combination.

The most important takeaway was that they appear to be using this as a springboard to improve, and if they do, the United States may have a new challenger and thrilling new rivalry.

The true MVPs are the volunteers

There were many wonderful aspects of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, such as the way the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) handled general organization, the amazing audiences, the matches, the settings, the marketing, and so on. But the people who worked at the event and made it so enjoyable for everyone were the genuine MVPs.

They exemplified why it was the best FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup ever by being warm, kind, and incredibly helpful. They should be extremely proud of their efforts and the way they represented both their nation and the sport!

In 2026, we’re prepared for an increased 16 teams!

We observed enough to conclude that a return to 16 teams in 2026 is a wise step after the competition was reduced to 12 teams for this edition. Puerto Rico highlighted how much the world is improving. Four years earlier, they lost their first game by 50 points, but this time, they advanced to the quarterfinals.

There were also a lot of countries that were absent but might have added to the tournament, such as Spain, who won the bronze medal in 2018, and the 2014 Finalists. Yes, the countdown to 2026 has already begun even though Sydney’s dust has not yet fallen.

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