New FIBA Rules to Provide More Opportunities for Women’s Hoops Tourneys
11 Jul, 2018By: Michael Popke
Good news for basketball destinations: In an effort to give more teams an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup, the International Basketball Association (FIBA) also is creating new opportunities to play and host more tournaments, according to USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley, who also is on FIBA’s executive board.
ESPN breaks down the new qualifying details:
First-round qualifiers for the Olympics will be held in November 2019. Those tournaments will be geographically based with contests in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. The Oceania region that includes Australia will now play as part of Asia for these tournaments. Sixteen teams will advance to play in four mini-tournaments around the world in February.
The top three finishers in each of those mini-tournaments will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, making up the 12-team field. Japan already has an automatic berth as the host nation, and the winner of the World Cup this fall will also get a bid to the Olympics.
The Americans have won the past six Olympic gold medals and the past two world championships -- now called the World Cup.
The same process will repeat itself in 2021 to determine what teams make the following year’s World Cup.
The change also will allow WNBA players who compete in Asian leagues to train with their national teams, as women’s basketball worldwide will take a break in November and February for the international tournaments.
That said, the Associated Press reports that “almost every WNBA team will go through a challenging road trip [this season] because of the FIBA World Cup in September that is compacting the season.”
For example, during a week-and-a-half stretch in mid-June, the Atlanta Dream played in six different cities and traveled more than 7,000 miles. The Connecticut Sub, meanwhile, played (and lost) games in Phoenix and Seattle on consecutive nights — dropping from first to fourth in the AP’s WNBA power poll.