QUEBEC (Canada) - No.2 seed Canada will reprise hostilities with nemesis USA as the red hot host aim for a third straight FIBA 3x3 Women's Series title at the Quebec Stop on August 19-20.
In a loaded field of eight, the Women's Series returns to Drake's land in the ninth stop of this insanely competitive season.
Canada have been literally unbeatable on this season's Women's Series with 10 straight Ws to claim titles in Edmonton and the most recent Bucharest Stop. The FIBA 3x3 Crelan World Cup 2022 silver medalist will be confident but enter shorthanded without the brilliant Plouffe sisters.
But they still have World Cup 2022 silver medalists Kacie Bosch (who has never lost a game on the Women's Series) and Paige Crozon, so they remain a favorite particularly in front of their passionate fans.
Canada will have an early test against USA, who they beat in the final of Edmonton. The Americans are still yet to win a title this season and will be extra determined after falling to Italy in the quarters in Bucharest,
But the towering (6ft. 4in, 1.93m) Lauren Cox has been doing it all and if she's the best player in Quebec then USA might finally end their drought.
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No.1 seed Germany haven't quite matched the heights of their early season form, where they went bang, bang to win in Tel Aviv and Poitiers. But top ranked player Sonja Grienacher returned in Bucharest and flexed her muscles averaging 7.5ppg to lead Germany to the semis.
With Greinacher back to her very best, Germany will be hoping to make a deeper run in Quebec but it won't be easy to emerge from a tough Pool A, which includes World Cup 2022 champs France and in-form Lithuania.
France made the semis in Bucharest but that was without World Cup 2022 MVP Laetitia Guapo, who returns to strengthen the talented Les Bleues.
No.4 seed Lithuania have made a statement this year punctuated by winning their first ever Women's Series title after claiming the Prague Stop. Three of their awesome foursome from that triumph will return, including Prague MVP Monika Grigalauskyte, who will create a heat wave in Quebec if she gets going.
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So loaded is this draw that we haven't yet mentioned European powerhouse Spain, who won in Bordeaux and finished second in Prague.
Without inspirational Sandra Ygueravide, Spain will be weakened but it's a golden opportunity for talented 25-year-old Cecilia Muhate Pena to take the keys.
Hoping to go on a giant killing run will be Czech Republic and German commercial team Dusseldorf ZOOS, who have both reached the quarters at Stops previously this season.
There have already been six different winners across eight Stops this season, so don't be shocked if there's a new one crowned in Quebec.
Pool A: Germany, Lithuania, France, Dusseldorf ZOOS (GER)
Pool B: Canada, Spain, USA, Czech Republic
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on August 19-20 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.