Can impressive Australia contend at FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023?
VIENNA (Austria) - After precious few opportunities over the last few seasons, Australia's dominant women's team are sending a loud message ahead of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023 in Vienna on May 30-June 4.
These awesome Aussies have been putting on a show after running rings around opponents to blitz through the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2023 then booked a berth to Vienna with an unbeaten run at FIBA 3x3 World Cup Qualifier 2023.
Australia also finished runners-up at the Wuhan Stop to start the FIBA 3x3 Women's Series 2023 in a performance that underlined their depth of talent.
But their big test will be in Vienna with Australia eyeing a maiden gold medal in their first World Cup appearance since 2019 when they agonizingly finished fourth.
There is a lot of anticipation over how Australia will fare against the world's best in 3x3's showpiece event. Let's try to answer a few questions on this team everyone is talking about.
What are Australia's strengths?
We don't know Australia's line-up for the World Cup yet, but it's safe to assume it will be comprised of the players we've seen so far this year.
Asia Cup MVP Marena Whittle and Alex Wilson starred both in Singapore and Eilat, showcasing their outstanding all-round skills.
Both have good size and can score from inside and out, but in trademark Aussie style they are gritty and play with a lot of energy. They love nothing more than hustling and dominating the boards to be the heart and soul of the team.
Fellow Asia Cup gold medallist Anneli Maley is unstoppable through her long arms and athleticism, while sharpshooter Lauren Mansfield is not just a sniper but can also serve a nasty dish to be the conductor of this beautiful orchestra.
As they showed in Eilat and Wuhan, Australia have a depth of talent with experienced campaigner Keely Froling and rebound machine Emma Clarke absolutely capable of holding their own if required in Vienna.
Australia certainly has the star power and firepower to believe they can make a deep run in Vienna.
It's hard to find any obvious weakness with a loaded Australia team, who have all bases covered and have players seemingly created in a 3x3 lab.
The only potential concern is that Australia before this year hadn't played much since the Covid-19 pandemic due to strict travel regulations Down Under.
Playing against the cream of the 3x3 world in Vienna will be a step up for this New Gen Australian team, who have grabbed the torch from pioneers Bec Cole and Maddie Garrick.
But they will enter with a lot of swagger after such a successful start to 2023.
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What is their pathway in Vienna?
Australia are in Pool B and should feel confident of their chances after notching victories against Germany and Japan at the Wuhan Stop.
The teams could look different in Vienna, but Germany did have a strong side in Wuhan led by superstar Sonja Greinacher yet Australia prevailed 21-16.
Greinacher still proved unstoppable with a game-high 10 points, but the Aussies impressively shut down the rest to gain a psychological edge ahead of Vienna.
Australia were made to work against Japan with a Mansfield buzzer beater the difference between these Asian powers, who have built a strong rivalry over the years.
Pool B also contains Poland and African champions Egypt, who will also provide challenges but Australia should feel good about getting out of this group.
And if they do then mouth-watering clashes against the world's best teams such as France, Canada, Spain and USA amongst others might await in the business end.
We just can't wait to see how Australia, who looked a class above in Singapore, handles these top teams - some of whom are hardened on the half-court after years of playing together.
There is a lot of hype over this Australian team and we believe it is justified as they aim to prove they are the real deal at 3x3's showpiece event.
Such their form that it will be a shock to see Australia bounced early and they just have to be rated among the contenders.
Jump on the bandwagon because Australia might soon be celebrating a podium finish for the first time since the inaugural World Cup in 2012.
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