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Four takeaways from the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup test games – FIBA

SYDNEY (FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup) – A series of test events in the week leading up to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup have thrown up plenty of talking points on the eve of the competition.
Here’s four top takeaways from the multiple matchups which have served to increase the appetite for the big tip-off on Thursday.

That’s right, these Test Events were merely preparation games¬† and yet the intensity and quality of basketball was epic right from the outset. We witnessed last year’s Olympic silver medalists Japan opening with a tight 77-73 victory against Belgium – evoking memories from that game for the ages when they squeezed past their opponents at Tokyo 2020 in the Quarter-Finals. And in a similarly dramatic contest, the Opals beat Olympic bronze medalists France 92-88.
In a third hard fought contest, the Opals edged past Belgium 65-61, while Japan had a little more breathing space in beating France 69-59. Now if that was the starter course, bring on the mains and the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup proper! More of this type of attractive ball and it’s going to be insanely good!

We probably kind of knew this already, but the games showed just how much the depth of competition in Australia’s frontcourt is going to give them a powerful tool to try and march towards that podium. There has been a lot of talk about Ezi Magbegor because of her form at club level and she was again impressive with 18 points against France. However the near double-double of 12 points and 9 rebounds from the experienced Cayla George against Belgium reminded us all that the competition for minutes is intense and that will fuel the Opals’ challenge and dominance inside the paint.¬†

Perhaps the main talking point of the Test Events was the performance of young Aika Hirashita of Japan. Handed what many thought was a surprise opportunity to play at her first senior event, she showed her potential in a big way against Belgium with a magnificent 18 points. And, by the way she dropped 5 of 5 from long-range, everyone can assume that Japan may be getting taller with each passing year, but those shooting skills remain high – meaning they are looking future proof with talents like this!

They have had their share of bumps in the road since winning that Olympic bronze last year, but this very much new-look France team might be able to punch harder than some people think. There will be a number of either new faces or those who have not played regularly at major events and are now looking to make up for lost time. Look no further than Mariemme Badiane. She posted a fine 17 points against Japan and while the likes of her, Ana Tadic, Marie-Eve Paget and Kendra Chery might not be the same well known names as those who have went before them, they are here to do good things. Yes, France lost both games, but with some fine tuning, they can turn it around so watch this space.

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