The women's basketball field is set for the Paris Olympics, with eight teams joining the U.S. and France.
The most unlikely of the bunch to qualify was Canada. The Canadians lost on Sunday and needed host Hungary to lose to Spain to get into their fourth straight Olympics. Spain had already qualified and didn't have much to play for. It showed early as the Spaniards were down 22 points, but rallied for the one-point win, outscoring Hungary by 15 in the fourth quarter.
Other teams to qualify at the four tournaments included Australia, Belgium, China, Japan, Nigeria, Puerto Rico and Spain.
The final two bids went to Serbia and Germany. The Serbians had to wait until the Germans beat Brazil in the last game of the four tournaments that were played around the world. Germany earned its first trip to the Olympics with the victory.
The U.S. and France already had earned bids to the Paris Games. The Americans won the World Cup to receive the automatic bid, and as the host nation, the French qualified. Both teams went 3-0 in their qualifying tournaments.
Australia will be making its eighth straight appearance in the Olympics. The Opals won medals in every Olympics from 1996-2012 (three silvers, two bronze), but lost in the quarterfinals of the Rio Games and Tokyo Games. Australia is on the rise though, finishing third at the 2022 World Cup played in Sydney. That tournament saw the return of Hall of Famer Lauren Jackson. She played in Brazil with the team to help them qualify for Paris. Jackson later said that she won't be in Paris.
“I’m done ... I love Brazil, Brazil has been very good to me,′ said Jackson in the postgame mixed zone. "How fitting that I get to finish my national career with Australia in Brazil. It’s very special.”
It's not the first time that Jackson has said she's done playing internationally, so there is still a sliver of hope she might be with the Opals in France this summer.
The World Cup runner-up, China, will be looking for its first medal in 40 years.
AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games