The final teams were decided at the 2016 Women’s Basketball World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. 12 teams were divided into four groups of three where a round robin was played where the top two advanced to the quarter-final. The four quarter-final winners qualified to the Olympics while the losers played for fifth place and the final spot. No semi-final or finals were played. The Women’s Basketball World Olympic Qualifying Tournament was held in Nantes, France from June 13th to June 19th 2016.
In the group stage France topped Group A with 83-67 and 70-52 wins over Cuba and New Zealand respectively. Cuba, after building a 50-29 lead at half-time was able to hold off a late surge from New Zealand to qualify to the quarter-final via a score of 64-62.
Group B was dominated by Turkey as they defeated Argentina and Cameroon 66-38 and 72-46 respectively. Argentina had a very strong performance against Cameroon as they led the team 43-23 by half-time and coasted to a 75-64 win.
Group C was the most thrilling group as Belarus won the first match against Nigeria 71-60. In the second match South Korea took an early 20-13 lead after the first quarter, but Nigeria stood defiant and spent the entire match trying to catch-up, only to take brief leads in the fourth. Going into the dying seconds South Korea led by 2, but a three-point basket in the final five seconds gave Nigeria the lead to win the game 70-69. Nigeria’s joy disappeared in the final match where South Korea did just enough to hold off Belarus to win the match 66-65. Since all three teams won and lost a game the tie-breaker went to point difference meaning Belarus finished first, South Korea in second while Nigeria was left out of the quarter-final.
Group D was won by Spain as the team set aside both China and Venezuela via a score of 77-43 and 83-55 respectively. China finished in second with their opening win against Venezuela where they won 77-59 in a relatively easy fashion.
The quarter-final matches saw the European nations performing well, particularly Spain, Turkey and France where they defeated South Korea, Cuba and Argentina 70-50, 71-45 and 90-53 respectively to qualify to the Olympics. The other match between Belarus and China was close with China taking a 32-28 lead at half-time. However, in the third quarter China blew up the game as they extended their lead to 19 and ultimately qualified to the Olympic with an 84-70 win.
The fight for the fifth and final Olympic quota saw South Korea defeat Cuba in an 81-62 match while Belarus demolished Argentina 84-44. The fifth place match was a very defensive affair though it was Belarus whom built up a 27-16 lead at half-time. South Korea tried to comeback in the third, but was unable to make any gains as Belarus went on to win the match and qualify to the Olympics with a score of 56-39.
With these five teams the women’s basketball line-up is now complete. Among the teams France will be attempting to defend its silver medal won in 2012 while Belarus and Spain will be making their return to the Olympics after missing out in 2012.
Qualified Nations (12 Athletes Each)