As well as the array of women’s basketball tournaments facilitated by Blue Star and its partners, there are also a numerous FIBA events that you need to put in your 2017 diary. Following on from Part 1 when I looked at the first half of the calendar year, here’s the second part!
01 July: FIBA U16 AfroBasket Women (Venue TBC)
Now most of you saw what Mali did last year in Zaragoza at U17 level right? Those historic three wins which was way better than the previous tally of just one. Well, the next generation of aspiring women’s ballers have a lot to live up to when they battle it out to make the 2018 edition of the U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup!
08 July – 16 July: FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship (Matosinhos, Portugal)
You will get to see some of those European College stars playing at the best women’s youth level tournament there is. Matosinhos is hosting a tournament in Division A for its fourth straight year and located close to the stunning city of Porto, it’s in my diary.
They love their women’s youth basketball there and I have not come across a friendlier bunch, so get it booked! Last year’s U20 was another treat!
08 July – 16 July: FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship Division B (Eilat, Israel)
It’s another fabulous destination to watch a women’s basketball tournament, with this coastal city offering plenty in addition to what is going on inside the gym. Just like its Division A bigger sister, this tournament might be sprinkled with some teenagers who featured at the prestigious EuroBasket Women in June.
22 July – 30 July: FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship (Udine & Cividale del Friuli, Italy)
I have already given an insight into this beautiful Italian setting in my previous features, including when I broke down USA’s group. That came after I delivered some pointers on the draw. It will be exciting, with Australia, Russia, France and Spain tipped to get closest to denying USA their seventh straight title at the event.
23 July – 29 July: FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2017 (Bengaluru, India)
For keen observers of women’s basketball, this one will be historic as it will include Australia and New Zealand, playing against the likes of China, Japan and Korea. That is going to be fascinating, while this renamed tournament will also continue to have two tiers, with relegation and promotion games.
04 August – 12 August: FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship (Bourges, France)
For the first time in recent history and perhaps very disappointingly for many followers of the youth game in Europe and for USA scouts and coaches, 2017 sees the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship Division B being played at the same time as the U18 tournament. It is taking place in Bourges, France, the home city one of the great EuroLeague Women clubs and a French powerhouse.
Last year saw Germany make an unexpected run to the Final as they made history, just 12 months after Portugal did the same – will the tournament continue in the same vein at this year’s edition? It’s the first chance we will get to see many stars of the future and for that reason alone, it is number one on my hit-list this year.
Oh, and there is also the not so small matter of qualification to the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2018!
04 August – 13 August: FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B (Dublin, Ireland)
Ireland’s women have been on the rise at youth level in recent years and some decent players are being produced, with the nation pushing hard to perhaps challenge for promotion to Division A. The appetite for the women’s game has been invigorated and there are some positive things happening – one of which is Dublin hosting this second-tier Division 18 event.
With the original brewed Guinness and some interesting players from many different countries, might be time to catch some hidden gems – as well as one which has been famously exported around the world!
05 August – 13 August: FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship (Sopron, Hungary)
It’s going to be an interesting U18 tournament this year, because for years I have argued that it is the best age to truly judge the potential of players for the medium term. I feel they are still too raw at U16 [thought it is fun trying to pick out the talent] and by U20, most have already been identified.
The one problem with U18 this year is that for more years than I can remember, most of the best U16 players have ‘played up’ each summer and played at U18 and U16 tourneys. But, that is impossible this year and U18 may suffer slightly as a result.
07-13 August: FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2017 (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Originally slated for September, the tournament has been brought forward a month and will take place in the capital of Argentine who won bronze at the last edition. With a chance of name to the intriguingly titled Women’s AmeriCup, the tournament is hugely important as it will hand all those who get a podium finish, a pass to the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
17 August – 26 August: FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship Division B (Skopje, FYR of Macedonia)
It wouldn’t be a youth summer without a Division B tournament in Macedonia and Skopje is hosting the U16 second tier competition. Now this really is off the beaten track, but expect Blue Star Europe to be all over this! So, keep it locked on twitter for all the latest when it tips-off.
15 September – 30 September: FIBA AfroBasket Women (Bamako, Mali)
Hopefully this is one that will be available either on YouTube or livebasketball.tv and it will be played in the hotbed of the women’s game in Africa – Mali! Will they be dancing on the streets of Bamako on 30 September? There is a good chance as it is now exactly a decade since the hosts last won the coveted silverware and after not making the last two Finals, it is about time that dominance at youth level in recent years makes a successful crossover.
22 October – 28 October: FIBA Asia U16 Women’s Championship (Hyderabad, India)
It’s fascinating that while this tournament keeps its tradition of being the last major FIBA youth tournament of the calendar year, it will mirror the seniors and see Australia and New Zealand up against the traditional Asian leaders. Spots up for the U17 Worlds too! Remember Australia won gold at the last edition of U17 and China made the Semi-Finals. Surely this one must go to a Final between both juggernauts?