10 players to watch at 2022 FIBA World Cup

·5 min read

10 players to watch at 2022 FIBA World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The biggest basketball tournament that brings together all of the top-ranked international teams is officially here. Teams will battle in a 10-day, 38-game competition to crown a single nation the title.

This will be the 19th edition of the international sports tournament and this year, the United States will be vying for its 11th title.

Twelve nations will compete for the 2022 FIBA World Cup title, and there are definitely standout athletes we should watch out for. Let’s see who they are:

Who are the players to watch at the 2022 FIBA World Cup?

The tournament will showcase 12 teams and 144 of the best female players in the world. Here are the top competitors: 

10. Tina Krajišnik

Serbia’s Krajišnik is a defensive asset and does great work on both ends of the board. She is considered Serbia’s anchor as she draws defenders to her while providing a strong presence. 

She participated at the EuroBasket Women in 2017 and 2021, and also the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with Serbia.

She most recently played for the Chicago Sky of the WNBA. Now, though, the 31-year-old power forward plays for Galatasaray (of Istanbul, Turkey), as well as for the Serbian national team.

9. Julie Allemand

Belgium’s Allemand is a driving force from the backcourt. She proved herself at the previous World Cup in 2018 when she matched the single-game assist record with France.

The 26-year-old superstar was selected by the Indiana Fever during the third round of the 2016 WNBA Draft. She also competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and has established herself as one of the best point guards in the world.

 She is a member of the Sky of the WNBA, as well as the Belgium national team.

8. Ramu Tokashiki

Japan’s Tokashiki is entering the 2022 FIBA World Cup with high adrenaline and motivation for success. The forward missed the last FIBA World Cup in 2018 and the 2020 Tokyo Games due to injury, so this is her chance to finally shine on the international stage.

Tokashiki competed at the 2016 Rio Games and was awarded the FIBA Women’s AsiaCup MVP twice (2013, 2015). She also earned WNBA All-Rookie Team in 2015.

The 31-year-old was signed to the Seattle Storm of the WNBA in 2015 but has since shifted to being a member of the JX-Eneos Sunflowers of the Women’s Japan Basketball League (WJBL), and, of course, the Japanese national team.

7. Gabby Williams

The small forward contributed to France’s silver at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket in 2021, as well as the bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Games. 

Williams was crowned a EuroLeague champion with Sopron and was also named the Final Four MVP in 2022.

The 26-year-old star was drafted by the Sky in the 2018 WNBA Draft. She now plays for the Seattle Storm (WNBA) and is a member of the French national team.

6. Ezi Magbegor

Center Ezi Magbegor is an Australian basketball player and currently plays for the Storm of the WNBA and the Melbourne Boomers of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) in Australia. 

The 23-year-old was a member of the Australian national team, the Opals, at the 2020 Tokyo Games, which made it to the quarterfinals. She was crowned the WNBA Champion in 2020 and made the All-WNBL First Team and WNBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2022.

5. Natalie Achonwa

Canada’s Achonwa was the youngest ever player to join the Canadian National Team in 2009. The power forward competed in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2010 FIBA World Cup, but missed the 2014 World Cup because of an injury.

She was invited back to the Olympics in 2016 and 2020 to play for Canada, but instead played for Canada at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup.

At 29 years old, Achonwa is currently a center for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA and the Canadian national team.

4. Jonquel Jones

Bosnia and Herzegovina center Jonquel Jones was drafted with the 6th overall pick at the 2016 WNBA Draft. 

The center was crowned the WNBA blocks leader in 2019, WNBA MVP in 2021 and as a WNBA All-Star four times (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022).

She currently plays for the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA. Since May 2019, the star gained citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has since played for the BIH national team.

3. Stephanie Mawuli 

The 23-year-old small forward is a member of the Toyota Antelopes of the Women’s Japanese Basketball League (WJBL). Mawuli is also part of the Japanese women’s national 3x3 squad.

She led the national U-23 3x3 team to be World Champions in 2019 and slated herself as the first ever player to earn both 5x5 and 3x3 medals at the Asian Games in 2018.

Her 2022 statistics show that she averaged 5.5 rebounds per game, 50% FG over two games and 14.5 efficiency rating, which measures a player’s performance above the number of points produced, over two games.

2. Bridget Carleton

Canada’s small forward Carleton competed in the previous FIBA World Cup (2018) and was crowned second team All-American by ESPN in 2019.

Based on her 2022 stats, Carleton is averaging 68% FG over two games, 3.5 assists per game and has hit on 10 of 13 3-pointers.

At 25 years old, Carleton currently plays for the Lynx of the WNBA, as well as the Canadian national team.

1. Himawari Akaho

Japan’s Akaho is a 24-year-old professional Japanese basketball player. She currently plays on the Japanese basketball team Denso Iris and the Japanese national team.

The shooting guard competed at the 2020 Summer Olympics and won a silver medal. She earned silver medals on two other occasions, including the Asia U-16 Championship and the Asia U-18 Championship. Akaho also has two gold medals under her belt – one from the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup and one from the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.

In 2022, Akaho averaged 14.5 points per game and 61% FG over two games.

Who are some other players to look out for?

Here are some other players to keep an eye on at the FIBA World Cup this year:

  • Arella Guirantes (Puerto Rico)

  • Danbi Kim (Korea)

  • Lauren Jackson (Australia)

  • Xu Han (China)