• Cayla Francis of Australia jumps for a score over Turkey in the 2014 FIBA Women's World Championships, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Image: Getty Images)
The Australian women's basketball team has stood on the podium since Atlanta 1996 - could this be their 6th consecutive year? Take some 'Time Out' to understand how the game works, who's who and when it's all happening.
Sophie Verass

SportSister, Australian Olympic Committee
5 Aug 2016 - 6:33 PM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2016 - 6:41 PM

Who is in it?

12 teams will contest the Olympic women's basketball tournament: Turkey, France, Brazil, Belarus, Japan, China, Canada, U.S, Senegal, Serbia, Spain and our Australian Opals team. 

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Our women’s basketball team has stood on the podium five straight Games, but are yet to claim gold. Will the new line-up change this?

Who will win it?

The USA will be the team to beat. They've taken home gold in the last 5 Olympics.

Do we have a shot? 

The Opals have medalled in the last 5 Olympics but have never managed to get one over those pesky Americans. Will this Olympics be the one where that all changes? Lauren Jackson certainly thinks so! 

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The Opals are playing a brand of basketball they’ve never played before on an Olympic stage and legendary former captain Lauren Jackson believes it can propel Australia to a history-making gold medal in Rio.

Basic rules

Twelve teams will compete in the women’s competition, with 12 athletes (five players and seven substitutes) are on each team.

Points are scored by shooting the ball into your opponents’ net (or basket). The ball must be moved up the court by dribbling or passing it to another team member and no more than two steps can be taken by a player with the ball without them dribbling it.

Two points are awarded for a regular shot from open play, with one point for each successful free throw (following an opposition infringement) and three points for a shot from distance (beyond the three-point line).

Competition will begin with a preliminary stage before the 12 teams are divided into two groups of six with each team playing every other in their group. The top four teams from each group qualify for the knockout stage, where the winners of the semi-finals will go head-to-head for the gold medal.

Jargon buster

Assist: a pass that directly leads to a teammate scoring a basket.

Lay-up: A close range one-handed shot from off the backboard.

Shot clock: A timer which measures the amount of time since the last shot. The ball must touch the rim or pass through the net within 24 seconds otherwise possession goes to the opposition.

Slam dunk: A slam shot directly into the net.

Time-out: If the coach makes a T-sign with his hands play is stopped for one minute so he can hold a team talk.

Match Details

Australia vs Brazil

  • Youth Arena
  • Saturday 6 August
  • 5.30pm (Sunday, 7 August 6.30am AEST)

Australia vs Turkey

  • Youth Arena
  • Sunday 7 August
  • 5.30pm (Monday, 8 August 6.30am AEST)

Australia vs France

  • Youth Arena
  • Tuesday 9 August
  • 12.15pm (Wednesday, 10 August 1.15am AEST)

Australia vs Japan

  • Youth Arena
  • Thursday 11 August
  • 5.45pm (Friday, 12 August 6.45am AEST)

Australia vs Belarus

  • Youth Arena
  • Saturday 13 August
  • 12.15pm (Sunday, 14 August 1.15am AEST)

Format: Olympic basketball matches consist of two 20-minute halves. If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes of play, a five-minute overtime period is played. Further overtime periods are played until the deadlock is broken.

Olympic history

Women's basketball has been played in the Summer Olympics since its first appearance in 1976.

The Australian women have not missed a medal since they stood on the podium for the first time at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games when they won bronze. In Sydney, Athens and Beijing the Australian women won silver medals, losing to the United States on all three occasions. In 2012 the women lost a preliminary match against France in overtime to finish second in their pool and face the United States in the semi-final. After falling to the US 86-73, flagbearer Lauren Jackson led the team to an 83-74 win over Russia to seal the bronze medal.  

This guide was put together with help from sportsister.com.

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