AMMAN (Jordan) – As excitement builds towards the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Amman later this month, there’s also a real buzz about the general outlook for female hoops on the Continent.
The recent FIBA World Ranking for Women, presented by NIKE, may have shown Europe is the region that currently occupies half of the top six spots, but could the tables be about to be turned and it could be Asia that soon takes this accolade?
‘DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THIS ‘SPACE RACE’ BETWEEN ASIA AND EUROPE TO SEE WHO CAN DOMINATE THE GLOBAL TOP SIX.’
While even the most passionate fans of Asian hoops would have to concede that Europe will probably always have the most overall depth, it could be that in future years, Australia, China and Japan ensure Asia gain the crown as the most dominant Continent.
China are currently ranked in 7th place and Japan are 8th, both having moved up two places after their respective displays atTokyo 2020.
Indeed China will still be kicking themselves for a missed podium opportunity after their late collapse in the Quarter-Finals against Serbia when they could and probably should have won. While a lack of experience showed in the vital last minutes, the learning experience for this young team was priceless and bodes well for the future.
In fact after that game, Serbian head coach Marina Maljkovic, who has worked in China, as well as standout star Ana Dabovic, both said that China will medal on their next appearance at the Olympics. It’s certainly the case that with the likes of Yueru Li, Xu Han and Meng Li, they have some top class performers who are all improving.
When you throw in the fact that China don’t just have some nice ‘bigs’ but can also move the ball and shoot well, it’s why they look like having a great opportunity of winning their first FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in a decade.
Japan captured the attention of basketball fans worldwide with their historic run to the Final on home soil, as well as their breathtaking brand of basketball – much of it emerging from the hand of record-breaking playmaker Rui Machida.
They look capable of another podium challenge next year at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and especially because of their depth of talent – something everyone expects to see when they make roster changes for the mission of defending their title in Amman.
Even if Australia dropped one place in the rankings, they look highly capable of maintaining their top six spot for some time to come with many great younger players in the pipeline to accompany rising stars who have established themselves as leaders such as Ezi Magbegor.
So if you haven’t done so already, check out the rankings because while we all understandably get caught up in the excitement of each individual tournament, don’t take your eyes off this ‘space race’ between Asia and Europe to see who can dominate the global top six.