LISBON (FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup) - Senegal's Oumoul Thiam couldn't believe it when she found out on Tuesday that her country will face the USA and China for the second time in less than two years.
The former African champions last faced Latvia at the 2008 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament - five years before Thiam made her senior debut.
The 5ft 10in (1.79m) shooting guard, however, was a part of the team that faced the Americans and Chinese at the Rio 2016 Olympics, with Senegal on the losing end both times.
"The USA is the best team in the world. They are tough teams to compete against," Thiam said. "I don't know much about Latvia because we haven't faced them yet, but I am looking forward to the challenge."
"When I started playing basketball, I didn't know that it would bring me here today. But when I fell in love with it, my ultimate goal was making it to the national team," she said.
"Being a member of the national team is not given, it's earned. Once I made it, I did not relax. Quite the contrary because staying in the team is reason enough to keep working hard. Doing what I love, competing at high-level while representing my country, there's no better feeling. That's motivation enough."
"We do have an experienced team," she said. "Most of us have competed at different levels. Win or lose, one thing we always bring is a fight to the end.
"We are aware that the level of basketball is different from the USA to Europe to Africa, so we need to be realistic. However, we will be in a great position to learn and grow from the World Cup. We will progress throughout the games and take what we're given. Hopefully, we realize that it could be a great stepping stone for FIBA AfroBasket 2019."
The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 will take place from September 22-30 in Tenerife.
Senegal qualified by virtue of finishing runners-up to Nigeria at last year's Women's AfroBasket. It is their first time playing in the competition since 2010.