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Old 26-05-2017, 01:31 PM   #626
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New Zealand names BIG Junior Tall Blacks squad for 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup.

It's pretty scary to see a small country like NZ starts producing so many quality bigs at the same time. Last year, this NZ squad absolutely punished the Australian Emus with their massive height advantage and powerful post plays. This must be a golden generation of NZ basketball.
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Old 29-05-2017, 05:45 AM   #627
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The 2017 African Women's draw for Bamako is now up from yesterday in Bamako's Saturday night at Hotel Sofitel l’Amitie:

GROUP A: Angola, Ivory Coast, Mali, Tunisia, Cameroon, wildcard
GROUP B: Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique, FIBA Africa Zone 4 winner (Gabon/Central African Republic/DR Congo)

Right away, whoever makes it out of Group B will have earned that because it is the toughest of the two groups. Defending champs Senegal, talented Nigeria, fast-rising Egypt, dependable Mozambique have to be locks to advance. Guinea will get better but not enough to make the quarterfinals. Part of it has to be of the fact to better assure hosts Mali an easier shot at advancing, although Cameroon, Angola, Ivory Coast, and Tunisia certainly aren't slouches.

Don't even want to project who will make it out Zone 4 because it seems like to me any of the three competing will win that spot. And, depending how competitive things are there, a wildcard. Again, it's a shame that some nations like Cape Verde, South Africa, and Morocco pulled out likely for cost issues and very likely disqualify themselves from even getting considered for wildcards. If not another Zone 4 team, perhaps Zimbabwe.

And yes, there will be classification games for places 5-8 and 9-12:
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...frobasket-2017

The Japanese women are getting ready for a three-peat Asia championship bid, even without Seattle's Ramu Tokishiki and now with the ever-formidable Australia and New Zealand included, and that starts with a challenging European tour presently in Torrelavega, Cantabria, in the north of Spain with equally tough Spain and Canada with 15 players:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...h-spain-canada

China is always among the class in East Asia and Asia as a whole with a spot very assured with the competition there since it entered back in the mid-1970s and automatically in as hosts for 2019, so the Chinese Basketball Association (or Team China, if you like to call it that) can more than afford to send present a youth movement to further develop depth and grant them senior international experience at the EABA Championship in Nagano, Japan. Average age is almost 19 years old, fresh from U18 Asia championships:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017

Look, The Philippines and India certainly aren't going to have challengers overnight in their Asian subzones. Though Southeast Asia has a better opportunity in getting deeper, competitive, and better overall with Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam gaining experience and developing national basketball leagues than with South Asia's:
http://www.fiba.com/news/have-the-ph...heir-sub-zones
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Old 31-05-2017, 08:54 AM   #628
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The 2017 Asian Basketball Championship, or the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, held its draw ceremony today at Beirut's Le Royal Hotel Dbayeh that also the unvieling of the Asian Championship logo, trophy, and mascot. It all takes place August 8-20 in Beirut with the first joint Asian-Pacific championship competition that will include Oceanic powerhouses Australia and New Zealand now vying for Asian supremacy. 16 teams were placed into 4 groups of 4 with the top 3 in each of them advancing to the second round where they are to be divided into two groups (E & F). The quarterfinals start the knockout stage from the top 4 teams from both of those groups.

GROUP A: India, Iran, Jordan, Syria
GROUP B: China, Philippines, Iraq, Qatar
GROUP C: Kazakhstan, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Korea
GROUP D: Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Will touch on with my analysis of the group more so tomorrow. But on the surface at least, I think the toughest groups are the ones with both the Boomers and Tall Blacks in them.

I really like how beautiful the new FIBA Asian Basketball Championship logo looks. Takes inspiration from the Lebanese flag from where this competition is based. Got a large red basketball background as if it's a phoenix's wings flapping with a stylized Cedar tree, the national symbol of Lebanon, at the base of the large trophy that's at the logo's center. Its mascot that's also making its public debut, Ox The Fox, has a strange name for him despite having the great and required qualities of a basketball player unless strength is one of them. Like his look too. Though when I think of Lebanon, foxes don't immediately come to mind:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...-logo-unveiled

Asia Cup trophy's new look:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...rophy-unveiled

Well, there's not going to be a Central Asian Basketball Championship. Never announced where and when it was going to be held. Nor who was slated to compete. I think Kazakhstan would've done that. As the highest-ranked Central Asian nation in the Nike FIBA rankings at #56 (11th in Asia) and with more consistent Asian basketball experience than the other ones neighbo(u)ring it, Kazakhstan goes in. Uzbekistan would be its closest regional rival--ranked 70th in it (16th in its Asian region)--and the only other one there in it. Likely funding, interest, planning, and other logistics worked against hosting the Central Asian subregional. A two-game playoff would suffice between the Kazaks' Snow Leopards and the Uzbeks for qualification if Krygyzstan, which doesn't play often enough to warrant ranking worldwide, don't have much talent, and was indeed routed 84-39 by Kazakhstan during the 2015 Central Asian qualification in Astana for the 2015 Asian Championships, and hasn't played since, Turkmenistan, whose last appearance of note was in the 2010 Asian Games, and Tajikistan, also inactive and only played at the 2005 Islamic Solidarity Games in Saudi Arabia, can't send their own teams. The Kyrgyz's only Asian appearance was in 1995 in Seoul, South Korea.
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:57 AM   #629
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Turns out there actually was a Central Asian basketball championship: A one-game championship between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in Almaty, Kazakhstan on June 1. Last time those two battled it out for the sole Central Asian spot in the Asian Championship in 2015, as explained in the last post, was a major rout. Thursday's game was a lot more competitive with Kyrgyzs getting much better, but the Kazaks still won over Kyrgyzstan 81-71, according to Wikipedia, to head to Beirut, Lebanon. Where was Uzbekistan in all this? Nowhere to be found there.

Over to Nagano, Japan now. The site of the 1998 Winter Olympics and the former venue of figure skating and short track back then at the White Ring is used for the East Asian Basketball Championship right now. So far, host Japan's Akatsuki Five and China, presently using a team full of talented but young and inexperienced players getting a significant first taste of senior international basketball, already shown their domination in their groups and continue to surge in their wins. Japan with its top B. League players had their hands full with South Korea 78-72 before thrashing Macau, whose lack of consistent big-time experience shows here 119-47. With those two wins, Japan advances into the semis. South Korea is very likely to join the Akatsuki Five into that stage once they too dispenses Macau.

China goes into the semifinal stage too confidently with that young roster in their two romping and convincing wins on Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei. Each by at least 30 points in both games. The real issue comes as to who will join the Chinese between HK and Taiwan. Easy for me to say the Taiwanese largely due to the vast success being out of East Asia and finishing high in the Asian basketball standings consistently over many years. HK will likely face last place Macau with Hong Kong showing its recent international experience outclassing their counterparts from the former Portuguese special Chinese administrative area. I'd be shocked if lightweights Macau beats up on Hong Kong:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017

Japan it seems needs this East Asia win more so than China does apparently as the latter's focus is putting on a strong showing as 2019 hosts. Ira Demon Brown, Japan's naturalized player, provides them with a lot like strength, size, and bulk in ultimately seeking its first Asian title since 1971 with a very strong chance to get its first East Asian title:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...rule-eaba-2017
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:43 AM   #630
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Where is the source for the solitary Central Asian qualifier in Almaty? I can't find it anywhere on the web.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:15 AM   #631
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sc945 View Post
Where is the source for the solitary Central Asian qualifier in Almaty? I can't find it anywhere on the web.
Found this over at Eurobasket.com's Asia-Basket section. Says both teams played well--especially the Kyrgyzstanis considering from the last game 2 years ago against them for the sole Central Asian spot--in the first period until Kazakhstan's Snow Leopards dominated starting in the second but Kyrgyzstan later cut the point deficit down from 20 although couldn't make it closer:
http://www.asia-basket.com/Kazakhsta...-FIBA-Asia-Cup

As expected, Japan, China, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei all made the East Asian semifinals and earn four of the five automatic slots allocated for East Asia, the strongest and deepest Asian subregion overall (It's why it and West Asia got the most spots with thanks also to the FIBA Asia Challenge). The final standings for them in this subregion really means nothing here, except maybe for overall Asian seeding in Beirut, Real race is for that 5th and final place up for grabs between the two Chinese Special Administrative Areas--Hong Kong, the favo(u)rites, and a very young Macau:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...-asia-cup-2017

Like the Chinese, South Korea is using younger players for East Asia; coach Hur Jae eschews five experienced players like star guards Kim Si-Rae and Kim Sun-Hyung as well as star center Kim Jong-Kyu here in a wish for more energy, youth, and speed but lose some height in the process (Hur's son was spared this subtraction though, BTW). Unlike the Chinese though, this direction could last beyond this East Asian tournament. South Korea's fourpeat, a rare thing, I don't think, is in the cards. Some youth will struggle:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...d-of-eaba-2017
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:39 AM   #632
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Semifinal stage in Nagano sees both expected finalists Japan and China stunningly upset by rivals Taiwan and South Korea, respectively, before the final with close games. One semifinal was with experienced players on both teams craving for a title, and the other with youth being served. South Korea nonetheless moves forward in a bid for a East Asia four-peat after a 106-104 OT win on China. Regardless, all four of them will be in Beirut this August.

But youth was not served for a East Asian championship for South Korea in the end for a record four-peat. That youth worked against them with Chinese Taipei dethrones South Korea and wins its first East Asian title, overcoming a slow start. The Taiwanese, who really weren't supposed to be present at this stage, outworked the South Koreans on the glass and forcing turnovers with naturalized player Quincy Davis eyepopping the stats sheet

The real interest was with who was going to get the fifth and final East Asian spot between Hong Kong and Macau. It was all Hong Kong from the second quarter as they punched their tickets to Beirut. HK was led by Duncan Reid towering over the more Portuguese competition, scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, while Leung Shiu Wah exploded for 19 points on 7-of-9 field goal shooting. Veterans Fong Shing Yee and Wong Chun Wai also shone with 13 and 14 points respectively. As for Macau, they were paced by the combined 47 points of Un Kam Chi and Lai Ka Tong:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...17-semi-finals
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...a-championship
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017

So the 16-nation field is complete for Beirut with all the subregions tourneys completed. Too bad Mongolia didn't compete in East Asia. Maybe the national basketball federation brass is focusing more on putting a better on-court in the long run at the senior level with some really good young prospects for future East Asian competitions and leave the current seniors to the Asian Games. Possible Nagano's organizers wants to keep the field at an even number. Maybe if North Korea was involved too.

Kyrgyzstan has been playing some international basketball lately outside of the Central Asia one-off. Did win the 2017 Nooruz Cup that also had the Azerbaijan U20 team, Kyrgyz's B-team, and top Liga Forward club Guiness-29:
http://www.asia-basket.com/Kyrgyzsta...ooruz-Cup-2017
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:43 AM   #633
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Hope to get into the U tourneys more so like the in progress U16 WOMEN'S AMERICAS TOURNAMENT in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But this photo on this link shows one portion of what Argentina's new Jordan Brand uniforms and gear look like:
http://www.fiba.com/americas/u16wome...na#|tab=roster

Spain's Eurobasket Women's loaded roster now taking shape starring Leticia Romero, Anna Cruz, legend Leila Palau, Sancho Lyttle, Alba Torrens, Laura Gil, Silvia Dominguez, and Marta Xargay join up with exciting international newcomers Maria Conde and Beatriz Sanchez in forming another imposing and talented Spain team for another deep run for Eurobasket as Olympic silver medalists. But the long-serving and respected veteran Lucila Pascua had to sadly sacrificed as the final cut from the team:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...confirm-roster

Slovenia's history-making Eurobasket Women 2017 debut final roster starring the guard duo Teja Oblak and Nika Baric bringing their all-important on-court relationship and veterans Maja Erkic, Shanta-Marie Evans, and Sandra Pirsic, along with the ever-improving Eva Lisec:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...ound-footsteps

35-year old Jaris Blums takes his hard charging and daring drives to the basket from his firing VEF Riga to Latvian league glory and onto the national team with Krisztaps Porzingis and David Bertans for his 7th consecutive Eurobasket in a tough Istanbul-based group--and no signs of slowing down beyond that:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasket/2017/...ive-eurobasket

Will the Ukraine be able to overcome a recent barren final record at Eurobasket with the final roster beset with serious withdrawals from the paint like Aleksandra Khomenchuk, Viktoriya Mircheva, and Valeriya Berzhynska--along with the influential Olga Dubrovina? Alina Iaugupova will not be enough and must play as a team:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-final-round
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Old 13-06-2017, 10:22 AM   #634
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France's beloved, talented, experienced, and dynamic Les Bleues under head coach Valerie Bernier just now finalized its 12-women roster again with those very qualities ready to tackle Eurobasket Women with hopes of getting golden glory instead of just being on the podium. Leading France's charge once again is Celine Dumerc ahead of her impending international retirement and currently sitting on 255 international games as the most ever for a French women in basketball. And she's got Marine Johannes, Olivia Epoupa, Sarah Michel, fellow outgoing international Gaelle Skrella, Helena Ciak, Valeriane Ayayi, Miriam Amant, Endy Miem, Diandra Tchatchouang, and--along with Johannes in making their Eurobasket debuts--teenager Alexis Chartereau and Hhadydia Minte as international overall debutants. Surprising in the last cuts were LFB Player of the Year and Olympian Amel Bouderra from Charleville-Mézières, Marieme Badiane, young center Aby Gaye, and Lisa Berkani. This time, this roster is more France club heavy in recent times

Normally when these events roll around I would pick France to win it all. Not this time. Oh, they're certainly more than capable--and would like to see Dumerc get her sendoff. Just don't want to get jinked when I do pick them when Spain and Serbia eventually won the last two editions:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-final-round
http://www.ffbb.com/les-12-joueuses-retenues-pour-leuro

Just before heading out of France for Eurobasket Women in the Czech Republic and whatever tuneup matches more immediately ahead, Dumerc and Skrela were honored after playing their final match in France against Spain to say goodbye to the French fans in Mulhouse:
http://www.ffbb.com/les-adieux-de-du...ublic-francais

Hungary's progress in the Czech Republic and for head coach Stefan Svitek will rest upon Tijana Krivacevic and Courtney Vandersloot carrying their team also including veteran combo guard Zsofia Fegyverneky and Final Round debutante Dora Medgyessy, who impressed in EuroCup Women with VBW CEKK Cegled, and the return of Nora Nagy-Budjoso from Cegled too and missed the last Eurobasket:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...l-round-roster

Zuzana Zirkova, Barbora Balintova in her second Eurobasket Women, hugely experienced forward Romana Vynuchalova, Reyer Venezia star Marie Ruzickova, and the ever-reliable Anna Jurcenkova all present and all will be integral for a Slovakia roster, which is expected to struggle in a group with Turkey, Italy, and Belarus:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...lovak-republic
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Old 16-06-2017, 11:41 AM   #635
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Some Russian young guns and sensations, with a third of the roster under the age of 21, are ready to take on Europe this year and can excite. Like Natalia Vieru, Evgeniia Beliakova, Maria Vadeeva, and Elina Babkina. May not emerge into the semis just yet but...these are names we'll hearing from for years to come looking for glory of their own to come:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...-back-to-glory

Turkey goes for the trusted and familiar with only one newcomer (Pelin Bilgic) following the international retirement of legend Nevriye Yilmaz to call upon on this national team. Ready to do much better than that heartbreaking loss to an Anna Cruz buzzer-beater Rio 2016 quarterfinal loss to Spain with Isil Alben taking charge:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-final-round

Italy banking on a mix of veteran experience with some excitable youth including the exciting young player Cecilia Zandalasini and Wake Forest's Elisa Penna on their Eurobasket Women debut. Can be a surprise team here and will likely make it out of group with Turkey:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...and-experience

Latvia navigates the group of death in the post-Anete Jekabsone era that will be greatly missed still having Gunta Basko guiding them. There's further experience with the frontcourt trio Anete Steinberga, Aija Putnina, and Kristine Vitola accompanied with combo guard Elina Babkina and her options she provides in the backcourt and the excitement around the continued evolution of Kitija Laksa. NCAA's Quinnipiac's Paula Strautmane joins in but not with her sis Digna, who's still on the junior national level driving their success there. Yet is this the final 12 that will at least get out of that group with Russia and Belgium? They can but...Perhaps the Latvians will be searching for an identity with all the key injury setbacks befalling them and coach Martin Zibarts in a tricky group, causing them to struggle:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...tricky-group-d

Some of Greece's most experienced players it ever had won't suit up for Greece. But head coach Kostas Keramidas still has and can rely on former FIBA EuroBasket Women MVP Evanthia Maltsi along with other veteran stars in Styliani Kaltsidou, Iouliti Lymoura and Aikaterina Sotiriou with blending new blood in with exciting guard Anna Stamolamprou alongside Maria Fasoula and Eleanna Christinaki who debuted two years ago and naturalized guard Nikki Avery and Artemis Spanou posting at the paint. It's go time:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...s-final-roster

Montenegro goes for the tried and true with its final selection but will be without injured WNBA champ Jelena Dubljevic and will eventually find it tough to come out of a tough group with Russia, Latvia, and Belgium:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...ed-and-trusted

Serbia's reigning Eurobasket champions are more than ready for its title defense and hard to stop again. Even better Ana Dabovic and Sonja Petrovic are both back from nursing their injuries. New captain Jelena Milovanovic's play and leadership has been exceptional so far. Might as well pencil these Serbian ladies in for the semifinals and the final:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...et-women-title

Hosts Czech Republic carry the hopes of a basketball-loving nation with these 12 young women. They have a shot to make it out of group play and at least to the quarterfinals. They are tall and long:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...vealing-roster

Katsiaryna Snytsina is needed more than ever by Belarus to become a strong leader to turn to and be outstanding as the women's nation team turns the page with a change in style. My concern is that in this time of major transition as one of the top international women's basketball national teams her Belarussian teammates will become over reliant on Snytsina to their detriment in a group with Turkey and Italy's Azzurri. Alex Bentley in the designated natualized spot replacing Lindsay Harding can help as will Tatsiana Likhtarovich and Maryia Papova who both must post their best eye-catching games, but this transition away from those dominant "twin towers" Yelena Leuchanka and Anastasiya Verameyenka serving them from over a decade and towards an experienced but evolving Marina Kress-Maryia Filonchyk frontcourt would be too much to overcome now:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...n-a-major-page

I think Japan is capable of a threepeat but won't with the Opals now in Asia looming large and more complete. Starting with the Opals size. Japan must use its speed, astute guard play, and three point shooting, though it has some size too. Just not enough of it in comparison:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...the-three-peat

Angola names it 22-player prelim set for this year's African Basketball Championships in which they may host after all:
http://www.fiba.com/afrobasket/2017/...-training-camp

This weekend neighbo(u)rs the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a traditional African women's basketball powerhouse for three decades with hopes to channel that era, and the Central African Republic will battle it for the FIBA Africa Zone 4 qualifying spot to Bamako in Kinshasa, DR Congo in a two-game derby. Both nations have been out of the big showcase for a quite a while as many African nations basketball federations started investing in their national women's programs continent-wide. DR Congo has been missing since 2011 with that class long removed from today, and there's new young breed with some experience. For the Central African Republic, it's been longer with its last African appearance in 1974 finishing 6th with its 1966 debut claiming bronze. So one nation's women's basketball African drought will come to end here:
http://www.fiba.basketball/en/womens...2017-qualifier

Turkey's Erman Kunter now helms Iraq in time for the 2017 Asian Basketball Championship to further build upon their surprise top 4 finish in the FIBA Asia Challenge hoping for a strong Beirut showing. With a playing career back home for two of Istanbul's top clubs (Besiktas and Fenerbahce), he turned to coaching mostly with France's Le Mans and Cholet in LNB Pro A with a stop back Istanbul with Galatasaray:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...new-head-coach

State-owned Greek public TV and radio broadcaster will be the home of the Greek men's, women's, junior national basketball teams as decreed by FIBA for the 2017-2021 WC cycle. Nothing new here since ERT always has been a longstanding and fruitful broadcaster for Hellas, bringing Greek basketball fans the very best moments in the national team. So there's a relationship:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...eam-basketball

Finnish broadcaster YLE will conduct the same as the place to follow for the increasingly popular Wolf Pack (Susijegi) with the Finnish Basketball Association also up to 2021:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...ack-until-2021

Ettore Messina's commitments as San Antonio Spurs assistant will prevent from coaching the Azzurri during the FIBA European Qualifications, so a caretaker coach will have to be named. Messina will be at Eurobasket, however, coaching in at least Tel Aviv:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...ean-qualifiers
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Old 18-06-2017, 04:39 AM   #636
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Eurobasket Women 2017 enters its second day of competition today. Do plan to catch up with it on the weekend and later on. But I still plan to provide more links with a summary of the group play. Again, I think FIBA Europe is making a mistake in reducing the field from 20 to 16 because I know there's some really solid women's national teams that deserved qualification across the continent like Sweden, Great Britain, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, and maybe Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Iceland, and Romania. Was this because of the few venues named in the Czech Republic that it couldn't accommodate them all with Prague for the final round (and group in a separate and smaller arena) and Hradec Kralove? No Ostrava, Kladno, Litvinov? Was there any interest there in those cities for Eurobasket Women? With the deepening talent level all over in Europe in men and women, I would expand it to 24 just like the men have in their edition. In fact, that's the number of teams I would propose for the World Championship.

The Belgian Cats were the first to announce their final roster for the Czech Republic in their first appearance in a decade. And yes, the stars are here in it including Ann Wauters, who was on that 2007 team, Emma Meesseman, Julie Vanloo, the highly entertaining Majorie Carpeaux, and Kim and Hanne Mestdagh who will be coached by the dad Philipp. Dark horses capable of committing some damage with a favorable group draw. Capable of also winning their group:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...l-round-return

Nika Baric made a lot of firsts in her basketball career involving Slovenia. First time in the junior ranks. First Slovenian picked in the WNBA. First time Slovenia qualified into Eurobasket Women. With her backcourt teammate Taja Oblak, the UMMC Ekaterinburg star aims with their fighting team spirit to continue Slovenia's tremendous sporting success and perform better than expected. But it's going to be tough for the only debutantes this year in Eurobasket:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...-for-lost-time

Seven super-talented debutantes eager to make a major impact in the Czech Republic. Includes Nika Baric, Marine Johannes, Emma Meesseman, Cecilia Zandalasini, Kia Vaughn, Aleksandra Crvendakic, and Cournet Vandersloot:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...ready-to-shine

Turkey went into Rio De Janeiro last summer hoping for serious medal contention in their second time in the Olympics, only to be ultimately served up bitter heartache with a kick in the stomach when Spain's Anna Cruz pulled up her buzzer-beating jumper for Spain to beat Turkish women in the quarterfinals and earn an eventual silver. They hoped to give long-serving member and team leader Nevriye Yilmaz a medal sendoff. But it wasn't to be...and what happened then still looms agonizingly large as a new era dawning with the team in transition; Isil Alben calls it "one of the worst moments of my entire life". Made even worse by the fact Alben knew she couldn't guard in position against Cruz effectively enough when she made that shot. Aiming low is difficult for a progam that made incredible strides in six short years. Yilmaz will be greatly missed, but Alben says there are some talented young players developing who must help the team work hard and learn quick as a unit. It's up to Alben to guide them as new leader with seasoned vets like her backcourt partner Birsel Vardarli-Demirmen and captain Saziye Ivegin Uner:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...fter-rio-tears

For those who haven't seen it or want to see it again, this is the Anna Cruz shot for Spain against Turkey in the Rio 2016 quarterfinals that's just talked about. 64-62. Following is the Spanish TVE call:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc66y46qNTE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdASRHya4Nk

Turkish version on TRT 3 Spor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NngEptfzWt4

Can the Czech Lionnesses overcome the slim backcourt depth as hosts in Hradec Kravlova and Prague after an uninspiring campaign? Does have a nice, proven frontcourt centering on Katerina Elhotova and the paint strength from the recently naturalized Kia Vaughn, Elhotova's ZVVS USK Prague teammates Alena Hanusova and Ilona Burgrova, and back from a 3-year sabbatical from the national team veteran center Petra Kulichova. Hungary and the Ukraine look set to break hearts in the Czech Republic. Hungary has the opposite problem in comparison to the Czechs. Solid backcourt in the naturalized Courtney Vandersloot and 3x3 international star point guard Dora Medgyessy getting a debut and international golden oldie-timer Zsofia Fegyverneky still going strong, there's little for play-caller Stefan Svitek to worry about. But Tijana Krivacevic being relied upon could cause concerns if there's an injury or foul trouble away deep at the basket with defensive attention on her, although versatile Nora Nagy-Bujdoso might help mitigate matters after sealing a major tournament return for the first time since 2009. Ukraine underwent some turbulent weeks with injuries causing their frontcourt roster becoming wafer-thin following a double win over champs Serbia during qualifiers with a strong chance at making it to Spain next year thanks to a hoped-for deep run. Ukrainian optimism faded severely since with a string of absences from an array of talent influential including Olga Dubrovina, and under the hoop players in Aleksandra Khomenchuk, Viktoriya Mircheva, and Valeriya Berezhynska. Still have big hitters in and if Olesia Malashenko stays healthy, along with fellow tireless working forward Kateryna Dorogbuzova inflicting damage. That's just before mentioning naturalized D'Andrea Moss and Alina Iuagapova, that impossible to stop, dynamic, athletic, explosive, young, premier European women's basketball players right now. Spain? All that world-class talent in the backcourt and frontcourt--Laia Palau, Anna Cruz, Marta Xargay, Silvia Dominguez, Leticia Romero, and Silvia Dominguez with player Alba Torrens and Sancho Lyttle providing the defensive steel--forming those Rio 2016 silver medalists that surely will claim this group going to regain the title they had at 2013 but relinquished in 2015. Size is the only issue here against them:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...roup-a-preview

Hopes are present in the Indian basketball community that Jeena Palanilkumkalayil Skaria (or Jeena PS, as she's commonly known) can shine with create the offensive firepower she's known for when donning the Indian jersey to get the Indian women promoted back into Asia Division B in Bangarulu in their home court. In getting past Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka in their group with perhaps Lebanon and Kazakhstan to face ahead of them. With all that extraordinary growth Indian basketball is enjoying, the youth ranks are swelling in taking up the sport that will power the sport in the long run:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-for-the-hosts

And Serbian Zoran Visic will be the man who will make plays for India's Jeena PS and her teammates:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...n-s-basketball

Eons and eons passed since Singapore's women last played 2011 and went back down to Division B with only Sri Lanka in their pocket. Coach Kirk Murad, glad to be competing, is just more focused on getting his charges playing well against the challenging teams with their different playing styles seeking to gain experience along the way with more games. With Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and Fiji with them, Fiji holds the best chance for a Singapore win for the Fijian's first time in Asia-Pacific competition:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...ngapore-return
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Old 21-06-2017, 05:45 AM   #637
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I plan to delve more into the since-completed Eurobasket Women 2017 groups, my picks, and their previews on this very post in a greatly revised (and worded) version. At quarterfinal qualification mode: France, Spain, Belgium, and Turkey all advanced there by winning their groups.

Hosts Czech Republic was the first to get eliminated early after back-to-back losses in the first two games and won't make their Prague glory. But in a final but now irrelevant group match against Spain, they went away on a high. Still, you would've hoped if the hosts played better than they actually did. The Czech frontcourt's weaknesses killed them. Also defending champions Serbia is now OUT this evening in the QQ 75-70 thanks to Latvia, who will now take on faves Spain.

Slovenia had a shot to advance to the quartefinals for the first time in their Eurobasket Women debut with that win over Greece in the second Group B session. But Serbia's beating of them later on with their own advancement in jeopardy eliminated the Slovenians' hopes.

Making matters worse for the Czech is the fact their former national co-inhabitants Slovakia are heading into the quarterfinals to face another heavy Eurobasket gold medal contender France after dispensing the favo(u)red Ukraine and the seemingly unstoppable Alina Iagupova. Zuzanna Zirkova turned back the hands of time with an incredible 31 point performance there. But the Slovak's quarterfinal stay won't be too long, can it?
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Old 23-06-2017, 05:15 AM   #638
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Four European spots, not counting WWBC hosts Spain that are automatically in, are up for grabs out of the 2017 Eurobasket Womens tournament in the Czech Republic for next year's FIBA Women's World Basketball Championship right now. Now half are left.

By virtue of making the Euro semifinals, Belgium's Belgian Cats, back in Eurobasket Women for the first time in a decade, and Greece will qualify for it after dominant wins wins over Italy's Azzurri and Turkey, respectively. Spain just now won in their quarterfinal fight against Latvia, who played great defense but couldn't generate enough offense, 67-47. For Belgium, it was a banner day to make its first-ever WWC trip. Today, Greece's stunning upset with tremendous heart against their not well-liked neighbors Turkey was something. Its accomplishment got the Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras on notice with tremendous kudos coming from across the pond by Robert Morris University (Artemis Spanou and Anna Niki Stamolamprou) and Maryland (Christinaki) with their vets like Evanthia Maltsi and Zoi Dimitrakou on their historic accomplishment. Hope Maltsi stick around for that! Both are making their Eurobasket Women's semifinal debut.

As for Turkey, of course it's not over them with that 5th spot to aim for as a now-former medal contender. It's still on test not just for that Greece game but also mentally because of the heartbreaking legacy from that crushing Rio 2016 quarterfinal loss to Spain and Anna Cruz's buzzer beater, which seemingly IMO grows and grows. Coming into the QF, Turkey faced a decimated and weak fellow Rio 2016 qualifier Belarus, an average Slovakia, and got lucky against Italy, who probarbly should've won instead, all in group play to sit atop their group. It will be between Turkey, Italy, Latvia, and surely Slovakia for 5th. In terms of talent, I think Turkey has to get it. But I'm not so sure of their psychological state now with that depressing loss to Greece. Starting to miss Yilmaz more?Italy's rising and can take it. Latvia must generate a better offense than what they did versus powerful world-class Spain.

France's Les Bleues play in the final QF match against Slovakia, that "average" team that really wasn't supposed to be at this stage, even with Zuzanna Zirkova going back in time with her incredible performance against the Ukraine that will go down in Slovak basketball lore. France possesses way too much depth up and down and too strong with so many weapons installed for the Slovaks to match. Will they display a more entertaining brand of basketball against an opponent that could permit this? I think this will be more of a collision course between France and Spain for the title Sunday in Prague:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-semi-finals

Brazil's FIBA suspension nightmare is finally now over, conditionally, which means it can participate in all those World Championships like taking advantage of the 2017-2018 FIBA Basketball World Championship Americas qualification and the FIBA Americas Championship with Brazil's CBB getting new management. Because if not, Nicaragua and Bolivia were waiting in the wings to battle for that spot. So bad news for them too. Furthermore, it warns Mexico's ADEMEBA to take steps necessary to avoid Brazil's fate again:
http://www.fiba.com/news/fiba-condit...void-sanctions

First time for North Korea (or DPR Korea) women's basketball to historically compete in back to back international basketball tournaments. Even promoting themselves out of Division B. As the great unknowns they must deal with China, New Zealand's Tall Ferns, and Chinese Taipei with Pak Hyang Jong and Ro Suk Yong are being key to inspire their teammates. Be tough though:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-in-top-flight

Here's hoping New Yorker Jillian Harmon can step up to lead the Tall Ferns to among the tops of FIBA Asia-Pacific with Spain bid. That'll be NZ's first since 1994 (Australia):
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...or-new-zealand

The Democratic Republic of the Congo clinched the last FIBA Africa qualifying spot to Bamako, Mali winning both games in Kinshasa's Ecole Francaise Gymnasium over the weekend to end a six-year jinx with a 117-109 scoring aggregate on the Central African Republic that was surprising it itself. Had the great Mwadi Mabika in attendance. They were too hungry and win Zone 4 to join Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, Guinea, and Mozambique. Last time they were in it was in Mali and will seek redemption from it. But a group like that might be too much for the Congolese, the second-most holder of African women's titles after Senegal. Maybe a wildcard will just what CAF, who needed a 15-point win from the first game to make it, needs to break its 40-year African qualification drought. Still don't know who the wildcards will be picked from:
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...-slot-in-style
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...99s-afrobasket

UPDATE: France powerfully locks down Slovakia 67-40 with the last semifinal spot locked. Spain will face Belgium. France takes on Greece. The Battle for 5th will see Latvia and Italy facing off and Turkey taking on Slovakia in that semifinal.

Canada Basketball announces today Halifax, Nova Scotia will host the first Team Canada men's basketball FIBA Americas qualifiers at the Halifax Scotiabank Metro Centre on November 24 when Canada faces The Bahamas in a group that also has the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. Not only that, the arena will host an AUS game between two Nova Scotia schools in St. Francis Xavier and Acadia as well as hosting a youth basketball clinic presented by Basketball Nova Scotia, Steve Nash Youth Basketball Clinic, and Canada Basketball. Just don't expect Canada's top NBA basketball stars to get involved here. Not even Buddy Hield for The Bahamas. Canada dates for the later home games are TBD. Could get spread across Canada:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...cas-qualifiers
http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-art...ame-in-halifax
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Old 28-06-2017, 11:39 AM   #639
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Former national team star player now coach Sam Daghlas certainly isn't holding back in selecting his preliminary 17-man Jordanian national team roster aka Al-Nashama for the Asian Championship with some big names and old teammates, naturalized American, and those with some NCAA experience:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...-asia-cup-pool

40 teams will participate in next year's EuroCup Women competition in 2 conferences:
http://www.fiba.com/europe/eurocupwo...up-women-glory
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:42 AM   #640
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ESPN's Fran Fraschilla ranks the top 12 non-NBA leagues worldwide as of last year. Fortunately for you down under, Australia and New Zealand's (for the Auckland-based New Zealand Breakers with Wellington possibly coming) NBL made the cut just making the top 10! Though judging from the comments sections, strong disagreements are ever-present often centering on Fraschilla's knowledge about the leagues, who's there and came out of them, and rankings. A few wondering about the Israeli League's omission and the PBA in The Philippines. Nonetheless, here's hoping all these leagues will make future NBA video games:
http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/1...ll-leagues-nba

5 Americans share their experiences about playing in the Chinese Basketball Association as a rapidly desirably viable option for borderline NBA players or vets seeking to extend their pro careers for fat paychecks. In the Chinese basketball mind, there's larger-than-life superstar Stephon Marbury from the Beijing Ducks (and now Jimmer Fredette too at the Shanghai Sharks) and every-American-import-else:
http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/1...lly-play-china

And former Louisville star guard Russ Smith dropped 81 points in a game while playing for Luoyang in the China's second division National Basketball League. He is averaging 61.4 points through the first five games of the season, surpassing 55 points in four of those matches:
http://www.slamonline.com/news-rumor...5AQf53F6Kq8.99
http://www.courier-journal.com/story...gue/451456001/

Jimmer looks set to succeed Starbury as China's import star. But who else could?
http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/1...bury-china-nba
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Old 13-07-2017, 11:41 AM   #641
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Today's the first day of the 2017 Centrobasket Women's Basksetball Championship at the University of the (US) Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center at St. Thomas that seats 2500-3000 with six teams in a round robin format. The 6 teams are hosts US Virgin Islands, Mexico, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. I don't want to predict who will win this, but my guess as to who will cinch a berth there will be Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands/Jamaica. Jamaica has been in the FIBA Americas Women's Championship three times but not qualified since 2013. Could be the Bahamas' chance with their physical play. Puerto Rico is a decent outfit internationally and seems to be a lack to make it. We can safely say Guatemala, with its lack of international basketball experience and pedigree, is out. Top three teams will directly head over to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the FIBA Americas Basketball Championship in August. Previous winners Cuba from 2015 is not involved this time as the Cuban women already qualified.

Final rosters for this events from the six teams can be seen here:
http://www.fiba.com/centrobasketwome...mpionship-2017

Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius will host the 2017 FIBA U16 African Championships at the Phoenix Gymnasium starting today. Can anybody beat well-regarded Egypt this time? Mali has a shot. The draw is:
Group A: 1. Mauritius; 2.Mozambique; 3. Tunisia; 4. Mali
Group B: 1. Egypt; 2. Madagascar; 3. Rwanda; 4. Algeria
http://www.fiba.com/africa/u16/2017/...pionships-2017

Kosovo gets some new and interesting additions/options to deepen themselves as a 14-person squad ahead of the 2017 European Pre-Qualifiers for coach Brad Greenberg that include Kosovo-born Lis Shoshi out of the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans playing big minutes the previous two seasons, as well as former Slovenia national team players Erjon Kastrati and Gezim Morina, and also now included in the squad are 6ft 11in (2.12m) domestic league centers Urim Zenelaj and Ergin Grosha, and Dardan Berisha of Italian club Juvecaserta, who can play a crucial role there. Tuneups begin this month for the next several days against Austria, Albania, and the Slovakia. May add a naturalized player soon:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...pre-qualifiers

Carlos Lima, Brazil's new women's coach, left out four players from the Rio 2016 Brazilian roster, a team that went that went winless as hosts in Group A, in the 16-women training camp starting tomorrow ahead of the FIBA Americas Women's Championship that includes Nadia Colhado (currently with the WNBA's Indiana Fever), Iziane Castro, Palmira Marcal, and Adriana Moises while retaining its top players Damiris Dantas and Clarissa Santos. As a traditional Americas women's power, Brazil is certainly capable of qualifying for Spain, but as we've seen with the most recent Olympics this is not the same class with Hortencia, Magic Paula, Erika De Souza, and Janeth Arcain. Will have to work hard than ever. Therefore will find it tough against top European teams and even Canada now:
http://www.fiba.com/womensamericup/2...-training-camp
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Old 16-07-2017, 05:54 AM   #642
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Just saw an hour ago a live game online from the U16 African tournament between Mali and hosts Mauritius. That has got to be one of the most lopsided international basketball matches I ever seen this side of the Dream Team. I know there's obviously a tremendous talent gap within the continent--Mali instituted a strong basketball program pedigree for decades while Mauritius is just starting with basketball, though rising in popularity, and lower in national interest. Mali's teenage boys are taller, longer, faster, and do lots of other things well. Mismatch all the way.

Final score was 165-23 Mali. I'll talk more to gather my thoughts about this all Mali game very soon.

This time I aim to incorporate the boys and girls U tournaments and 3x3 basketball on this thread more because there's some international tournaments going on right now and will continue to be the case. And will definitely be at the senior level too with a couple of ones this month.
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Old 17-07-2017, 07:39 AM   #643
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Back in the US Virgin Islands at St. Thomas, the hosts are undefeated after 4 days of round robin competition after having just beaten Puerto Rico hours ago. Fellow Central American/Caribbean women's basketball powers, the Puerto Ricans and Mexico, are very much almost neck and neck for second and third both at 3-1 with those top three, if form holds, will advance to Buenos Aires. Jamaica is presently at 2-2 with The Bahamas and winless Guatemala finishing up the table. Can't expect Guatemala to finish things up with a win versus Bahamas:
http://www.fiba.com/centrobasketwome...robasket-day-4
http://www.fiba.com/news/virgin-isla...e-centrobasket
http://www.fiba.com/centrobasketwome...e-centrobasket
http://www.fiba.com/centrobasketwome...virgin-islands

Some new wave of young names to remember not just for the upcoming FIBA Asian Championship in Beirut who could take it by storm but also beyond: Mohammed Al-Khafaji (Iraq), Hu Jinqiu (China), Chou Yi-Hsiang (Chinese Taipei), Yudai Baba (Japan), Heo Hoon (Korea), Mac Belo (Philippines), Mitch Norton (Australia), and Callum McRae (New Zealand):
http://www.fiba.com/news/here-comes-...ee-at-asia-cup
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Old 18-07-2017, 11:00 AM   #644
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The US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Mexico all will head over down to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the 2017 FIBA Americas Women's Championship (or FIBA AmeriCup) as the top three teams despite the USVI losing its last game. But their spot for it was all sewn up by yesterday, so that game was meaningless. USVI's Natalie Day is the MVP:
http://www.fiba.com/centrobasketwome...mpionship-2017

And its draw will commence Wednesday:
http://www.fiba.com/womensamericup/2...-for-wednesday

Despite making serious strides in Asian men's basketball competition in such a short period, what does India have to show with 1 billion population beyond it? So far, there's still no NBA players yet from it. Satnam Singh was drafted by Dallas but remains with its G-League affiliate Texas Legends. Young Cagers national team member Palpreet Singh Brar was drafted by the G League’s Long Island Nets but never cracked the roster. Therefore it continues on its long but largely unsuccessful international basketball history--think the 1980 Moscow Olympics (I'll get to that later). There's yet to have that top-flight national basketball league in the fashion of the Hero Motors India Super League in soccer and the Indian Premier League cricket that IMG was supposedly working on. How far are they on that yet? Anyhoo, there's tremendous work done at the grassroots level to get 24 Indian teenager boys into basketball with a New Delhi-based NBA Academy that the NBA is what's its biggest investment to date there to help boost India's long-term basketball footprint. NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum was there:
http://www.slamonline.com/the-magazi...1AmiyCD9i50.99

New Zealand's Tall Ferns display recent promise with its impressive play at the FIBA William Jones Cup in Taipei with Micaela Cocks, Jillian Harmon, and Kailani Purcell. But don't forget experienced players like Natalie Taylor and Toni Farnworth, while Rebecca Ott and Georgia Agnew represent the new generation. Could be a sleeper team to watch in Bengaluru, India with their size. For Taiwan or Chinese Taipei, staying among the top 4 with very likely China, Australia, and Japan, to say nothing about South Korea's rising players, is the most important thing to qualify for Spain. And must counter NZ's size with both Lin Yu-Ting and Huang Ping-Jen very evidently leading this team in Bengaluruas the pillars of this team for the past few years, reprising their leadership roles again this year. Helping them out will be the returning Bao Hsi-Le, or otherwise known as Joy Burke, with her own much needed size at the middle for Taipei. Will be tougher than ever for the William Jones Cup winners with the Oceania teams now in. Really, both teams know their respective campaigns are now more difficult:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...chinese-taipei

Did I mention NZ's Tall Ferns were impressive at 4-1 in the recently-completed William Jones Cup in Taipei, ending with a 75-72 win against a not-full-strength Japanese team but consisting of university and fringe-national team players before heading off to training camp in Singapore?
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...s-cup-campaign

With Abby Bishop (ankle) and Alex Bunton (knee) both forced to withdraw and must have corrective surgeries, the Opals have called upon rising star Alanna Smith and Alice Kunek in the final roster to India:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-for-the-opals

Bismack Biyombo, Emmanuel Mudiay, Toronto native and former Texas Longhorn Myck Kabongo, and 20-year old Jordan Sakho are part of the DR Congo's 20-player preliminary squad:
http://www.fiba.com/afrobasket/2017/...frobasket-2017

Yes, the basketball gods giveth and later taketh away. In FIBA Americas co-host Uruguay's case they regain Nicolas Borsellino, who couldn't play in Mexico City two years due to a knee problem, but lose Mathias Calfani, who did and his absence will be big for the Celeste:
http://www.fiba.com/americup/2017/ne...t-lost-calfani

Texas A&M's Tyler Davis will suit up for Puerto Rico. There's tremendous hope Davis will be future cornerstone for the Boricuas/SeleccionPUR:
http://www.fiba.com/americup/2017/ne...ketball-family

Some factors including FIBA's suspension and missing them altogether have impacted Lebanon's recent campaign absences in FIBA Asia with Kazakhstan taking over their spot during those times. Rebuilding is in order under its Armenian coach including Lebanon's team chemistry being paramount as the women's national team players haven't practiced or played together in a long time. Chanita Jordan, if eligible, will help with her skills. Still think the Cedars get promoted into Division A after breezing through against smaller Singapore and Fiji:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...hasers-lebanon

Been oh so long since Romania was in a Eurobasket. Now as co-hosts in Cluj, the excited players and coach hope the Romanians will turn out there against the likes of regional powerhouses Italy and Croatia in their group. They also express their like of the new competition structure for WC qualifying:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...cup-qualifiers

Draen Petrovic's older brother Aleksander explores over the alternatives for Croatia on their China trip:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasket/2017/...-in-china-tour
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Old 20-07-2017, 09:00 AM   #645
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Although they lost in the Kinshasa-based two-game series to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic was selected as the wildcard for the 2017 African Women's Basketball Championship next month over the likes of Zimbabwe and Benin perhaps being more competitive in their series by judging their very low margin of loss in comparison to those two. CAF will make their way to Group A in Bamako with hosts Mali, Tunisia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Angola. Not an easy group to be in for them. Group B is even tougher if they were in that...
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...frobasket-2017

Israel's got 16 players at training camp with before Eurobasket as co-hosts this year. And captain Omri Casspi is getting progressively excited:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasket/2017/...urobasket-2017

The draw for the 2017 FIBA Americas Women's Basketball Championship this afternoon in Buenos Aires, Argentina are as follows:

Group A: US Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia
Group B: Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Mexico

Top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals and not the top four as it usually is. So no quarterfinal round here. That's too bad. In Group A, there's going to be some pressure for the Argentinian hosts to at least make it to the semifinals. Brazil largely will have the same team that went to 2016 Rio De Janeiro Summer Olympics as hosts there, save for a few faces like Nadia Cohaldo and should be seen as one the better teams out of the Americas not named Team USA with a new coach. The US Virgin Islands could surprise after just winning the Centrobasket having some quality coaching and talent level. Venezuela's improving and made last year's OQT, but the Vinotinto still has some ways to go before becoming a serious contender down the road. Colombia, I think, is too young.

Defending champions and overwhelming faves Canada must be seen as the best Americas women's team outside of the United States (ranked 2nd in the Americas, 6th worldwide)--and as I say throughout this thread there's a basketball boom up there with tremendous talent extending to the women up there. UCONN star Kia Nurse from Hamilton, Ontario is one the featured faces. Look for former Windsor University Lancers player Miah-Marie Langlois along with former Oregon St. star Ruth Hamblin. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe won't be available with her New York Liberty WNBA campaign right now. There is going to be a transition with three players now retiring but younger and more athletic players providing the depth for Lisa Thomaidis. Should have no issues facing their opponents in Group B. If there's a threat to them, it will be from Puerto Rico, Mexico, or Cuba, and the race for second place after Canada is where the interest lies. Cuba's got several players in their prime but may lose key experienced players. Puerto Rico has some recent vital international basketball tournament experience. Mexico's rising. Paraguay will try but lacks pedigree and constant international tournament experience. I'll choose Puerto Rico for second. For now. May change later.

The three medalists automatically head over to Spain. My picks are: Canada, Argentina, Brazil:
http://www.fiba.com/womensamericup/2...-americup-2017

And Canada Basketball just announces the 14 players selected to the Women’s National Team Program Training and Selection camp from July 24 - August 1 in Edmonton, Alberta at the University of Alberta's Saville Centre under the Phase 3 portion following very productive training camp and a Euro trip this summer. Two will be trimmed to make for the final 12:
http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-art...-3-training-an
http://www.fiba.com/womensamericup/2...paration-phase

Two more nations in the FIBA Asian Women's Basketball Championship Division A, South Korea and The Philippines, are in different planes with both in Group B. South Korea, one of the more traditional Asian women's basketball powerhouses and just missed direct qualification to Rio De Janeiro through last summer's OQT in France, continues to undergo a transition to a younger and thinner team that will be led by top scorer Kim Dan-Bi and teen center Park Ji-Su with the former having to carry the scoring burden on her shoulders with those impacting injuries around them. South Korea is currently sidelined with injuries and older players unavailable with just a few holdovers from 2015; they will struggle somewhat if they wish to ultimately crack the top four now with Australia in. In that group, it's the Opals and Japan who will take the group. As for the newly-promoted Philippines, though they shown tremendous improvement in the last few years, punching above their weight will be act as the Perlas Pilipinas' reward in Bangaluru, India. Getting finally that taste of elite international tournament level basketball play will be brutal for them. As long as the Philippines play competitive, they'll be OK hopefully with 21-year old university star Afril Bernadino as their best player who can drop 32 big ones in 2015 to elevate The Philippines into Division A and her effortless speedy D:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...nd-philippines

All 8 teams will later participate in the knockout round with the fifth-place and seventh-place winners heading into the crossover format that eventually will play in the quarterfinals and help determining the seeding.

I really don't like sagas like this. American Samoa has withdrawn from the Asian Division B women's tournament, leaving Group A there with just three teams--Uzbekistan, India, and Sri Lanka. Even as the program was preparing for this in seeking a new head coach and recruiting players for the national team. Bids for support funds to Bangaluru became unsuccessful from its American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC) and government bodies (that are enduring financial crisis) that eventually went to the American Samoa Handball Federation:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-asia-cup-2017

After three weeks of training camps in Dakar, Senegal's coach Moustapha Gaye skims Sabelle Diatta, Maimouna Diarra, Diary Diouf, Aida Fall, Ndeye Fall and Ndeye Syll to the 16 players that can help make out the defending African champions Lionneses. Fatou Dieng's still around. But will Diarra join them and get clearance from the NDCELE WNBA Chapter?
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...ry-squad-to-16

I think Bulgaria will qualify from the 2017 European pre-qualifiers in August with Portugal in their group with some recent Eurobasket experience, although it finished in the lower rankings in them. Urgency is getting paramount with three teams in a group. Alexander Vezenkov, Dee Bost, and Bulgarian national team head coach Lyubomir Minchev hopefully will work toward that to the European World Basketball Championship Division qualification. Portugal is improving and rebounding but does not have the depth of the better European teams--maybe not even Great Britain. Let's just say Belarus is not like their women counterparts in their European standing:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...pre-qualifiers
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Old Yesterday, 06:46 AM   #646
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All the 15 Asian Women's Basketball Championship teams from both divisions are now in Bangalore, India right now getting their photo shoots with the rosters named. Because of the timing of this, several teams can't get some of their better talent that are presently in the WNBA or injury. Even new Opals coach Sandy Brondello can't be there in India as she's attending to her Phoenix Mercury coaching commitments. Basically, everyone's excited with smiles abound before tip-off. It's much too bad American Samoa can't be around to participate in what would be their best top--and toughest--competition ever. Top four here goes to Spain next year.

I also strongly believe it's time to expand the women's field in Division to 10-12 teams in the near future like for the next one and encourage similar expansion in Division B to hopefully prevent teams to drop out and grow the women's game in some other regions like Mongolia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Pacific, and West Asia. Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and maybe Jordan should participate too:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...f-in-bengaluru

You can click here to check for all the confirmed 15 national team rosters in the 2017 FIBA Asian Women's Basketball Championship. Japan, the defending champions, have to be among the top four again:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-asia-cup-2017

No Ramu Tokashiki at both ends of the floor for Japan and still in Seattle will leave a major donut hole there. Coach Tom Hovasse must challenge his young and inexperienced charges in bringing out their best. But they got the talent to make it work with players like Asami Yoshida and her playmaking performance on her shoulders, Yuka Osaki, and Maki Takada effectively taking charge. Come 2020, this could help them with depth. With the Opals, I think they're going to win it but must play and win overwhelmingly to dethrone Japan with their great size at every position to maximize like Tolo. Since the 1990s, there's very good reasons why Australia's an international women's basketball force:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-and-australia

With Australia and New Zealand now both in means one, if not both, of those East Asian basketball powers we've come to expect for decades--China, Japan, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei--won't qualify. A fear they have with a World Championship or Olympic berth at stake. FIBA's competition structure changed this. China is fiercely competitive with its size and skill from its reliable players. Always have been. As explosive, gritty, pesky, and scrappy as the North Koreans are, they aren't semifinal material even with Ro Suk-Yong and Pak Hyang-Jong and may find themselves back to Division B with versatile forward and third-best offensive option Sin Hyon-Ok out:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-and-dpr-korea

Does Chinese Taipei have the stuff and mettle to win a medal for the first time since 2005?
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-global-ticket

Four players return from that ultimately disappointing Rio De Janeiro team last summer that are in this monstrously-favo(u)red Asian title contender headlined by Marianne Tolo. Should've got a medal there Several of course can't make it numerous reasons like Liz Cambage and some WNBA commitments. Equally interesting is alltime legend Penny Taylor joins as an assistant with UMMC Ekaterinburg coach and Sandy's hubby Olaf Lange, Paul Goriss, and Cheryl Chambers
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...coaching-staff

The Philippines are rank outsiders here about to get their sternest test yet in promotion to Division A in 2015 while showing they more than filling out the ranks. Survival is the name of the game for the Perlas though Allana May Lim and Afril Bernadino will certainly be fun to watch. Will be hurt by the lack of naturalized American players:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...n-the-top-tier

Over in Division B, the main storyline will be hosts India aiming for returning to Division A after two years away. Can they accomplish this with a many greenhorns lead by Anitha Paul Durai carrying the load going along with 4 other holdovers and taking the onus? Will the home court advantage and experience in comparison to the teams there be enough to offset the absence of Jeena Skaria and Smruthi Radhakrishnan, neither of whom aren't playing? A new and revamped Sri Lanka team must step up and develop more offensive options outside of Anjalee Ekanayake as the prime offensive option to avoid tumbling down the bottom with Solange Gunawijeya and Kumarine Silva gone. Uzbekistan's Aliya Samatova with her size will definitely make her hard to stop for her team and thus make Uzbekistan promotion contenders. As the only Pacific team in Division B, undersized but speedy Fiji gets to participate in its toughest tournament since the 2008 Olympic Qualification Tournament. Yes, it'll be tough going. Could fight for #2 spot in its division and ultimately finish ahead of Singapore. But they're happy to be here as long as they compete well. Same thing would happen to American Samoa if it stayed on the program. Actually even worse so for them. Kazkhastan, who I would like to see earn promotion, would go as far as Ossipenko and Yagodkina take them and may overtake India for that on paper. Lebanon is certainly capable of making it back to Division B and rebuild its Asian women's basketball status. But this means chemistry, fitness, Chanita Jordan's availability, and inexperience concerns must be overcome. Singapore? Another just happy to be here. Just play efficiently through your international inexperience:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...n-b-team-guide

My Division B picks for promotion: Lebanon and Kazakhstan (India will replace one of these two if it gets going)

A preview from The Hindu newspaper perspective:
http://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-...le19332850.ece
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