International players to watch at Women’s World Cup
TENERIFE, Spain (AP) — The U.S. women’s basketball roster is full of WNBA All-Stars and clearly the 12-member team led by Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart will be fun to watch.
Here are a few other players that may not get the same headlines as the Americans. Some have played in the WNBA while others have had incredible careers internationally.
Natalie Achonwa, Canada — Had a breakout season for the Indiana Fever this year, averaging a career-best 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds. She’s part of the young core for Canada that also includes other WNBA players Kia Nurse and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe. Achonwa provides strength and size in the middle for the Canadians, who are trying to medal for the first time since 1986 when the team won the bronze.
Liz Cambage, Australia — The 6-foot-8 Australian star came back to the WNBA this past season and dominated the competition after taking a few years away from the league. She led the WNBA in scoring, averaging 23 points, and set a league record with a 53-point performance against the New York Liberty. She’s the only person to dunk in the Olympics and might add one in the World Cup. She missed the 2014 tournament after rupturing her Achilles against the U.S. in an exhibition game and is now the face of the Australian team with former stars Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor retired. For the Australians to have a shot at upending the United States, she’ll have to have a stellar tournament.
Sandrine Gruda, France — With the great French point guard Celine Dumerc retired from the national team, Gruda provides the veteran voice for the European nation. She was a huge part of France’s silver medal run at the 2012 Olympics and provides size. Surprisingly, the French haven’t medaled in this tournament since1953 — when the team earned a bronze. She’ll need to provide a steady hand for that to change this time around.
Evina Maltsi, Greece — The oldest player in the tournament, Maltsi may not have the same name recognition in the U.S. as some of the other players on the list, but she’s been a steady force for Greece over the past decade. She was key in Greece’s run to the semis of the EuroBasket tournament.
Alba Torrens, Spain — Arguably the best player in Europe, Torrens has been part of the Spanish national team since 2008. She helped the team to a silver medal in the last world championship and the Rio Olympics in 2016. She’d like nothing more to lead her team to the championship on the home soil.
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