Fiba Women’s Basketball World Cup 2o22: China beat Belgium to finish second in Group A
- Fourth win in five games gives China second seeding behind United States heading into last eight
- Puerto Rico make quarter-finals for the first time after thumping win over South Korea
China secured a top two finish in Group A of the Fiba Women’s Basketball World Cup with a vital 81-55 win over Belgium on Tuesday, putting them in a strong position going into the quarter-finals.
After their fourth win in five games, China advance as the group’s second seed behind the unbeaten United States.
China led 54-45 after three quarters before powering away from Belgium, who finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup, in a blistering final term assault.
Li Meng top-scored with 16 points for the Chinese team, who had five players hit double figures.
Kyara Linskens had 14 points and seven rebounds for Belgium, who finished third in the group with a 3-2 record.
China’s opponents in the last eight will be determined after the final group matches at the 10-day tournament in Sydney.
Canada, France, Australia and Serbia have already qualified as the top four teams from Group B.
Earlier, Puerto Rico booked the last quarter-final slot at the women’s basketball World Cup on Tuesday with a “fairy tale” 92-73 win over South Korea, securing a knockout place for the first time.
Mya Hollingshed drilled a game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds in the do-or-die clash on the final day of group matches at the 10-day tournament in Sydney.
Defeat consigned the Koreans to an early exit as 17th-ranked Puerto Rico progressed with two wins from five in Group A, quickly taking the initiative to open an 18-point lead after the first quarter.
The Koreans, missing injured marquee star Park Ji-su, battled back in much tighter second and third quarters and came out on top in the fourth, but their slow start was fatal.
“Obviously very proud of our team, we have a mix of young players with veteran players,” said Puerto Rico coach Jerry Batista.
“So for us who have been here for a couple of years working and trying to develop Puerto Rico basketball, it is so great.
“It is like a fairy tale … it shows that if you work, you can achieve everything,” he added.
Arella Guirantes has been a stand-out with her exceptional performances helping steer Puerto Rico to the play-offs in only their second World Cup, having failed to win a game at their first tournament in 2018.
The ever-dangerous shooting guard finished with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists.
South Korean coach Jung Sun-min said her players were tired after a gruelling tournament, but was gracious in defeat.
“The better team deserved the win today,” she said.