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Day 2: Reasons red-hot China could take down the USA – FIBA

SYDNEY (Australia) – The second day at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup saw medal hopefuls China show their teeth again as they racked up another huge victory ahead of their day three clash with USA.

The whole China team is firing nicely and after demolishing Korea, they moved to 2-0 after catching fire again and beating Bosnia and Herzegovina 82-58. While they will face a way, way stiffer test against the reigning champions, you have to love the way they are balling with their inside/outside style, getting everyone involved and contributing. They look a really, really  good team on the court at the moment and  not just on paper. They’re leading the competition in scoring with 102.5 points per game and 30.5 assists per outing,.

The most impressive aspect of China so far has been Xu Han hitting top gear. The center was behind Yueru Li in the hierarchy back at Tokyo 2020 and the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament, but has shown good form since landing in Sydney. She is averaging a tournament double-double of 15.5 points and 11 boards per game. Han has also spoken about how much better she played in the WNBA this past season and how she is looking forward to testing herself against USA. 

Records rarely last for ever. USA are now on a 24-game winning streak that stretches back to the Semi-Finals at the 2006 edition. Nobody was expecting them to lose back then. but they did. China has to believe they can stay in the game, capitalize on USA having some players only just arrive and use their impressive depth to challenge. 

Just when you thought France had turned the corner and washed away their troubles with that opening night victory against Australia, they hit a brick wall called Canada. Their opponents picked up a second win to move to 2-0 after completing a 59-45 shutdown against their Group B rivals. Nirra Fields impressed with 17 points, but it was the defense that was the star of the show.

Australia are up and running with their first win of the competition and they did it in emphatic style with a 118-58 victory against Mali. With more than two minutes remaining they looked an absolute lock to go past their previous highest score in the competition of 119. But, no more buckets materialized. Cayla George had a nice night for the Opals with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Japan made it rain against Mali on Day 1 as they dropped more than 10 triples for a fourth consecutive game in the competition. The longest such run by any side since 1994. But, they dried up in a big way with just 5 against Serbia as the reigning European champions completed an impressive 69-64 victory as they ended a four game losing streak. Five players had double-digits which showed it was a big team effort.

It was one-way traffic and mostly in the direction of Puerto Rico’s basket as USA completed a rampant 106-42 success. A big double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds from Shakira Austin was the pick, with Brionna Jones also exploiting their opponents’ lack of height with 15 points and 9 boards, Meanwhile Alyssa Thomas flirted with another potential record. Having done so in assists, this time it was steals as she snapped up 6 in the contest, two short of a USA all-time high.

Korea has now lost more games in a row than any other nation in the last 25 years of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup after Belgium handed them an 84-61 defeat. The Cats eased through the game and were fuelled by some nice passing with Emma Meesseman passing the rock 7 times – her best ever assists tally in the competition. The win was the first for the Cats having lost their opener against USA.

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