Sydney, Sep 24 (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – Sep 24, 2022): USA reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s Basketball World Cup on Saturday with a comfortable 77-63 win over China in Sydney , as Belgium survived a scare against Puerto Rico.
After crushing Belgium and Puerto Rico, the Americans faced a tougher Group A test against an emerging China, which was seen as America’s biggest threat to an 11th world title.
But the three-time defending champions led in front of a crowd of 21,000 spectators.
A nervous Belgium, who reached the semi-finals in 2018, held on to a tense 68-65 win over Puerto Rico to claim their second consecutive victory after losing to the United States on the opening day.
The mighty United States cruised to victory over China with a dominant first half to claim their 25th straight World Cup win – dating back to 2010 – and became the first side to qualify for the last eight.
They led 44-25 at the long break before thwarting China’s late rally.
A’ja Wilson (20 points, eight rebounds) and Chelsea Gray (12 points, six rebounds) made their debuts in the 10-day tournament.
United States coach Cheryl Reeve praised her team’s defense, which thwarted a Chinese side that had reached century milestones in previous victories against South Korea and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzegovina.
“Our defense continues to be great. We were tough to play against and that’s who we are,” she said.
Li Meng (21 points) and Wang Siyu (17 points) led a brave China, which fell to a 2-1 record.
“It was a big difference compared to the first two games. Our players will learn a lot from this game,” Chinese coach Zheng Wei said.
Boasting youthful talent and high-octane styling, China was widely tipped to test the United States.
But the Americans had all the answers and were boosted by the returns of Wilson, Gray and Kelsey Plum, who made their first appearances after arriving in Sydney jetlagged early Friday after the Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA Finals .
Gray showed no signs of fatigue with a three-point shot for the United States, which took an 11-0 lead in two minutes.
Inspired by rowdy fans in the stands, China desperately tried to stay afloat, but striker Alyssa Thomas dominated around the basket to extend the USA advantage at halftime.
The Americans were uncharacteristically cold on the pitch in the third quarter and China capitalized to approach single digits.
But the United States put their foot down with the first nine points of the final quarter and snuffed out a late challenge from China to maintain their undefeated record.
Belgium had a tougher task against improving Puerto Rico, who won their first-ever World Cup game in their opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
They sniffed out a major upset when star Arella Guirantes’ three-point play gave Puerto Rico a 62-61 lead, but Belgium rallied through Kyara Linskens, who was spectacular with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
The top four teams from each of the two groups advance to the quarter-finals.
In the other Group A game, Leeseul Kang was unstoppable with 37 points to propel South Korea to a 99-66 loss to winless Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The win reignited the South Korean campaign and ended an 11-game losing streak in the event since 2010.