Fiba Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022: China storm into last eight with convincing win over Puerto Rico
- Centre Li Yueru leads way with 16 points and eight rebounds, while forward Zhang Ru adds 14 points, and sharpshooter Huang Sijing 12
- Belgium up next for Chinese side, who can finish in top two with victory on Tuesday
China stormed into the quarter-finals the Women’s Basketball World Cup on Monday with a convincing 95-60 win over Puerto Rico.
A third victory from four games moved China into the last eight, where they have been joined by three-time defending champions the United States and Belgium.
All three teams are in Group A, with the top four going through to the knockout stage.
It was an even performance from China, with all 12 players hitting the scoreboard. Centre Li Yueru led with 16 points and eight rebounds, forward Zhang Ru finished with 14 points, and sharpshooter Huang Sijing added 12 points.
The Chinese team hit 57.7 per cent from the field, including 11 of 25 from three-point range, and had a staggering 41 assists with 11 players contributing to the tally.
The 18-year-old Trinity San Antonio from Puerto Rico scored a game-high 19 points.
China raced out to an early 10-2 lead and exploited their height advantage over Puerto Rico, whose head coach Gerardo Batista substituted his entire starting line-up in a bid to get some momentum going.
It initially paid dividends for Puerto Rico, who produced a historic first World Cup win against Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opener.
But China regained the initiative, which spilled over into the second quarter where they pushed the tempo to score a slew of points in transition, overwhelming their opponents and stretching their lead to 51-25 at half-time.
After a tighter third quarter, Li Yueru hit a two-pointer to start the fourth as China put the foot down to tune up for the game with Belgium, semi-finalists at the 2018 World Cup.
With only one defeat to the United States so far, China finish the group phase on Tuesday with a clash against Belgium (3-1) with a top two spot up for grabs.
The United States, meanwhile, set a new all-time women’s basketball World Cup scoring record with a 145-69 demolition of South Korea.
Eight of the Americans’ 12-strong roster hit double figures, led by Brionna Jones with 24 points, eight rebounds and one assist in Sydney.
A’ja Wilson drilled 20 points and Breanna Stewart 18 as the US ran riot, with Shakira Austin netting a field goal with just seconds left to ensure the record.
It was previously held by Brazil, who crushed Malaysia 143-50 in a group game at the 1990 tournament.
“I thought we got off to a bit of a slower start than we wanted, but we had a group that came in that really changed things for us,” said USA coach Cheryl Reeve, whose team are gunning for an 11th title overall.
“We got more pressure and I think our size, the number of points we got in the paint was 90 or something. So our size was a problem for them and I thought we shared the ball well.”
Defeat leaves Korea facing a crunch game on Tuesday against Puerto Rico with a quarter-final slot at stake.
“I try to focus on how we played rather than the result of the game. I wanted our players to show their best ability and confidence on the court,” Jung Sun-min, the Korea coach, said. “Individually I think we played very hard and very well today.”