The women’s tournament was decided today after the conclusion of the 2020 Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. In total, there were four tournaments where four teams, including hosts Japan and World Cup winners United States, competed in a round robin event where the top three teams qualified. In the tournaments containing Japan and the United States only the other two best nations would qualify. The Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments were held from January 6th to January 9th 2020.
The first tournament was held in Ostend, Belgium. The first set of matches had Japan defeat Sweden 75-54 after a relatively slow start while Canada held off a comeback by Belgium to win 61-56. The second day saw Belgium mount a comeback to take the lead over Japan by the end of the second quarter on route to winning 92-84. Canada clinched their spot to the Olympics with an 80-50 victory over Sweden. The other Olympic ticket was secured by Belgium as they defeated Sweden 61-53 during the final set of games. Canada won the tournament by holding off Japan 70-68.
The second tournament was held in Bourges, France. Despite being down by ten points during the fourth quarter, Puerto Rico managed to comeback against Brazil to tie things 83-83 at the end of the first set of matches. In the ensuing overtime, it was Puerto Rico who prevailed 8-6. The other match was won by France who defeated Australia 72-63. The second set of matches saw comfortable victories by Australia and France who defeated Puerto Rico 100-74 and Brazil 89-72 respectively. While down by a single point going into the fourth quarter, Brazil was unable to keep up with Australia and were eliminated from Olympic contention in an 86-72 loss. This meant Australia, France and Puerto Rico all qualified to the Olympics. France won the tournament with an 89-51 win over Puerto Rico.
The third tournament was held in Belgrade, Serbia. The first set of matches saw an even first quarter between Nigeria and Mozambique, but afterwards it was all Nigeria as they went to win 85-51. Similarly, the United States were not threatened as they defeated Serbia 88-69. A poor second quarter by Nigeria against Serbia during the second set of matches was the difference maker as a comeback attempt only got Nigeria within four as Serbia would go on to win the match 70-64. Despite the loss, Nigeria clinched a spot to the Olympics thanks to the United States displaying their strength by crushing Mozambique 124-49. The other Olympic quota was won during the final set of matches where Serbia defeated Mozambique 76-48. The United States required a strong fourth quarter to defeat Nigeria as they were down by seven. They turned things around to win the tournament by defeating Nigeria 76-71.
Originally, the fourth tournament was supposed to be held in Foshan, China, but due to the Coronavirus outbreak it was moved to Belgrade, Serbia. The first set of matches saw China coming back after a relatively poor start to win against Great Britain 86-76 while Spain defeated South Korea 83-46. China would clinch their spot to the Olympics thanks to a 64-62 win over Spain. The nation took a strong lead going into the fourth quarter where Spain came all the way back to take the lead. China was however able to regain control of the match to win. The other match saw a similar comeback by Great Britain, but they were unable to bridge the gap as South Korea won 82-79. The final set of matches saw China defeat South Korea 100-60 to win the tournament. Despite losing, South Korea qualified to the Olympics thanks to Spain’s 79-69 victory over Great Britain.
This concludes the qualification period for the women’s tournament. Including Japan and the United States, 8/12 teams qualified to the 2020 Olympics also competed at the 2016 Olympics. Nigeria returned after competing at the 2004 Olympics while this is South Korea’s first Olympics since 2008. For Belgium and Puerto Rico this will be their Olympic debut in the women’s tournament.