Women’s Olympic Basketball Preview


Last Finish: 5-1 in 2016

Australia was one of four teams to average over 0.90 points per possession during the 2016 Games. While this group has had some attrition since then, they have no shortage of offensive talent with a strong mix of WNBA and WNBL contributors. Allowing a top-ranked 0.67 points per possession at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, Australia can get the job done on both ends of the floor.


Last Finish: First Games

Finishing 2nd in offensive efficiency at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Belgium returns the key contributors of that team. With important depth and balance on the offensive end, their ability to improve on the 0.76 points per possession they allowed defensively figures to be key to their medal hopes.


Last Finish: 3-3 in 2016

Canada finished last in scoring efficiency at the 2016 Games due in large part to the 0.65 points per possession they scored in spot up situations. Showing marked improvement at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and shooting the ball well in preparation play even before their WNBA contingent arrived, they will be looking to make splash in the knockout round.


Last Finish: 1-4 in 2016

China had a strong showing offensively in the 2016 Games averaging a fourth-ranked 0.91 points per possession. Their half court defense was serviceable in Rio, but they surrendered a somewhat unlucky 1.39 points per transition possession.


Last Finish: 4-4 in 2016

After taking silver at the 2012 Games to earn their first medal in basketball, France finished fourth in 2016. Deep with offensive contributors, they have leaned heavily on their perimeter shooting ability in preparation play scoring 0.92 points per jump shot in the half court. Their ability to space the floor figures to determine their ceiling in the second phase.


Last Finish: 3-3 in 2016

The hosts have been efficient on the offensive end in recent years and home court advantage certainly won’t hurt in that regard, but their ability to shore things up on the perimeter and build on the 0.89 points per possession they allowed in the half court at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup will determine whether they can make the most of it.


Last Finish: 2-4 in 2008

Over a decade since their last Games, Korea will likely play some zone out of necessity and their ability to find a way to rebound the ball when they do mix up their defenses is a point of interest. They went zone on 60% of their defensive possessions at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.


Last Finish: 1-5 in 2004

Another team returning to the Games after a long layoff, Nigeria brings a team to Japan that surprised with a 3-4 finish at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Emerging as a force in Africa during the last cycle, this team appears to be on the rise and has upside if they can improve on the 0.64 points per jump shot they scored in their last international appearance.


Last Finish: First Games

Making their second straight major international debut after managing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Puerto Rico is a nation on the rise. Their execution offensively will be key to their ability to stay competitive in their first Olympics as their defense has carried them in continental competitions recently.


Last Finish: 4-4 in 2016

The bronze medalists at the 2016 Games, Serbia has shown the ability to play inside out in preparation play. Scoring 1.09 points per possession created out of the post, they are a veteran team with several back to the basket threats. Fresh off winning Women’s EuroBasket just weeks ago, this team will be brimming with confidence.


Last Finish: 6-2 in 2016


Taking home a silver medal in 2016, Spain separated themselves in the group phase with their defense on the perimeter.  Allowing just 21% of the attempts they faced in the half court in catch and shoot situations, their energy on the perimeter allowed them to dictate the action impressively on that end of the floor.  If they can be opportunistic around the rim offensively they are clear podium threat.



Last Finish: 8-0 in 2016


The United States were 36.4 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents at the 2016 Games with no other team eclipsing 9.6 per 100 possessions.  That number fell to 0.19 at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, as this group is obviously a force to be reckoned with, but how far ahead they are of the field remains a point of interest as the game continues to evolve worldwide.


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