The 2018 FIBA World Cup is creeping ever so closer to reaching its apex.
With the quarterfinals complete, four teams remain. There was concern early on that Nigeria would be one of those final four instead of the USA Basketball women’s national team, but Team USA rallied and rode a surge in the second half to a 71-40 victory over D’Tigress.
Breanna Stewart scored 19 points. A’ja Wilson scored 11. Tina Charles pulled in 15 rebounds.
Australia vs. China
Team USA was the first team to punch its ticket to the semifinals. Shortly afterwards, Australia joined them.
The Opals, led by its WNBA contingent of Liz Cambage, Sami Whitcomb, Rebecca Allen, and Stephanie Talbot, have dominated teams this World Cup. In its quarterfinal contest with China, the Opals continued that theme by virtue of its 83-42 victory over China.
Unlike Team USA, Australia set the tone early by outscoring China 24-7 in the first quarter.
Cambage scored 20 in addition to nine rebounds. Rebecca Allen finished with 16.
Li Yueru was the only player for China in double-digits for points as she tallied 12 along with six rebounds.
Australia shot 51 percent from the field and blocked five China shot attempts. The Opals also were successful in converting rebounds to points as they outdid China 13-2 in second chance scores.
Belgium vs. France
The third game of the day which was between Belgium and France continued the “chalk” theme of Friday’s quarterfinals.
It also continued the theme of Friday’s quarterfinal contests ending in routs.
On the heels of the drubbings from the USA and Australia, Belgium blew out France by a final of 86-65.
If the second quarter were to have been removed from the game, Belgium would still have won, but the result would not have been as one-sided as it became. Belgium outscored France, 33-14 in the second quarter.
Belgium shot 48 percent from the field and moved the ball around well for 28 assists to only 16 for France. Belgium also outdid France in points in the paint and fast break points.
Kim Mestdagh scored 23 points along with six rebounds. Emma Meesseman scored 16 along with nine rebounds. Julie Allemand had 11 points and Julie Vanloo came off the bench for 10 points. Kyara Linskens also pulled in seven rebounds.
Marie Johannes scored 17 points for France and Endene Miyem added 15. Sandrine Gruda contributed 10 rebounds to France’s efforts.
Canada vs. Spain
If not the story of this year’s FIBA World Cup, certainly a story had to be the run that Canada embarked on.
Canada was the last of the teams that had earned automatic bids to Friday’s quarterfinal play by virtue of what it did in the preliminary stage.
Canada had hoped to join USA, Australia, and Belgium as the teams that earned automatic bids to also make it to the semifinals, but it was not to be for Canada as it suffered a 68-53 defeat to Spain.
The fourth quarter of Canada’s contest with Spain will forever haunt them. They had a three-point lead (50-47) heading into the fourth quarter only to be outscored 21-3 in the final frame.
Even worse for Canada – Spain began the fourth quarter on a 19-0 run that lasted until there was just under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter when Shay Colley made one of two free throws after being fouled by Cristina Ouvina. The other two came at the game’s conclusion when Miranda Ayim drove to the basket for a layup.
Colley had 13 off the bench to compliment a 15-point effort from Kia Nurse. Kim Gaucher had seven rebounds and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had six boards, but Gaucher was held to three points and Nurse only shot five of 17 from the field.
Astou Ndour scored 16 points. Queralt Casas scored 13 off Spain’s bench and Anna Cruz had ten points and five rebounds. Spain outdid Canada in the paint, 38-24.