TENERIFE, Spain (AP) — Welcome to the first FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Well it’s really been around since 1953, but the first 17 tournaments were called the World Championship. The International Basketball Federation decided to change the name of the men’s tournament after the 2014 championship and used the same name for the women.
The U.S. is looking for its 10th title — the most of any nation. The Americans are trying for a third straight, something the country has never accomplished.
Here are a few other tidbits for this tournament:
FIRST TIMERS: Belgium, Latvia and Puerto Rico are all getting ready to play for the first time in the World Cup. Either Belgium or Puerto Rico will be guaranteed at least one win as they face off to cap the opening night. Belgium is led by Washington Mystics star Emma Meesseman, who sat out the WNBA season to train with her country. Puerto Rico has former Kentucky player Jennifer O’Neill and Indiana Fever guard Jazmon Gwathmey.
HIGHER EDUCATION: While the U.S. roster doesn’t have a college player for the first time in three World Cup tournaments, a few other countries have NCAA ties. South Florida’s Kitija Laska and Syracuse’s Digna Strautmane play for Latvia. Louisville graduate transfer Yacine Diop is on Senegal.
APPROACHING A MILESTONE: According to FIBA, the U.S. women are approaching 10,000 points total in their World Cup games. They have 9,639 over 124 contests and potentially could hit the unprecedented mark in the quarterfinals.
BASKETBALL DOUBLE: U.S. guard Jewell Loyd could be the first player in FIBA history to win both the 3-on-3 world title and the 5-on-5 one as well. Loyd was part of the U.S. team that won the 3-ob-3 gold medal in 2014.
LOOKING FOR A W: Nigeria is playing in its second World Cup and looking for its first victory. The African nation lost all five of its games in 2006. Teams from Africa are 6-88 with Senegal winning four times. Senegal opens against the U.S. on Saturday.
MOVING ON UP: Quick quiz — Who is third on the all-time list behind the U.S. and Brazil for games played in the World Cup? The answer is a bit of a surprise with South Korea. The South Koreans have 110 games played according to FIBA and could pass Brazil if the Asian country can reach the semifinals.