By Joe Apu
Nigeria women’s team, D’Tigress moved a step up the FIBA ranking ladder from 17th to 16th position following the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as Gold Medal winners USA strengthened their grip on the top spot, with Spain leapfrogging Australia into second.
Though, D’Tigress failed to move beyond the first round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in a group that had USA, France and Japan , they still remain the best team on the African continent.
The USA – who also won the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021 in June – defeated hosts Japan in the Olympic Final for their seventh straight finish atop the Summer Games podium.
Spain followed their seventh-place finish at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2021 in June with a sixth-place at the Olympics to squeak into the No. 2 spot above Australia. After winning only one game in the Preliminary Round of the Olympics, the Opals made it to the Quarter-Finals but fell in a heavy loss to the USA and are now November 3.
In addition to Australia, two other Asian sides played their way into the top 10, with China climbing two spots to No. 7 and Japan moving up two positions to No. 8.
Factoring into China’s rankings jump were their Group Phase victories over two teams that were higher in the rankings: Australia and Belgium. The fifth-place finish at the Olympics was the Chinese team’s best since the Beijing Games in 2008.
Likewise, Japan twice defeated higher-ranked France – by four points in the Group Phase and then by a 16-point margin in the Semi-Finals – before edging higher-ranked Belgium in the Quarter-Finals. While Japan (+60.6) earned more points than China (+35.1) in the latest world rankings, it was not enough to pass the Chinese team.
Serbia won the Women’s EuroBasket by defeating France in the Final with Sonja Vasic taking tournament MVP honors, yet lost to them when the teams met in the Bronze Medal Game at the Olympics. The Serbians are now No. 9 after China and Japan hopped over them following the run of strong overall performances from the two Asian teams.
After finishing 14 out of 16 teams at the Women’s EuroBasket and also failing to qualify for the Olympics, Turkey was the biggest dropper near the top of the world ranking leaderboard. Previously No. 7, Turkey now resides at No. 10 on the rankings.
Puerto Rico, after reaching the Final of the Women’s AmeriCup and also playing at the Olympics, cracked the top 20. The Boricuas moved up six places to No. 17.