- AP News
- Abc News
USA, Australia into title game, China to fight for 5th place at FIBA Women's World Cup
TENERIFE, Spain, Sept. 29 -- The United States and Australia advanced to the 2018 Women's World Cup final here on Saturday, while China will fight for the fifth place, their best results in 24 years.
Debutantes Belgium put on huge challenge on title holders as the contention was in a balance at 52-52 midway through the quarters, but the U.S. sped up to score 11 of the next 12 points to pull away the match, and Belgians never came closer later on.
The U.S. became the first team in World Cup history to score 10,000 points with Brittney Griner's opening bucket.
Griner finished 16 points. Veteran guard Diana Taurasi hit five 3-pointers to score 26 points. Breanna Stewart added 20.
Belgium could still walk off the court with heads up, as they had shocked Spain in the final group game and France in quarterfinals.
Emma Meesseman led Belgium's scoring with 23 points. Julie Allemand dished out 12 assists.
After winning 21 consecutive World Cup games, the U.S. will take on Australia looking for the third straight title that they never achieved before.
Australia built a commanding 21-6 lead into the match, but in thunderous cheer from home crowds, Spain responded with a 7-0 run afterwards. Australia led 23-15 as the first quarter ran out.
Alba Torrens' three-pointer earned Spain a 30-all tie with 3:08 remaining in the second quarter, and the home side built a 35-34 lead at the interval.
Spain extended their margin to eight points after the third quarter, but Australia made their response with a 9-0 run into the final 10 minutes. Star center Liz Cambage displayed her omnipotence at both ends of the court, spearheading Australia to a 72-66 victory over Spain.
Cambage shone with a game-high 33 points and 15 boards. Spain's Astou Ndour had 17 points. Torrens snatched 15.
China rallied past Canada 76-71 in the fifth-eighth place classifications to move one win away from their best result at the tournament since 1994.
China finished runners-up 24 years ago. Their previous best result since then was finishing sixth twice in 2002 and 2014. Next up against them will be France, who crushed Nigeria 84-62.
China failed to restrain opponents' performance beyond the arc in the first half, as Canada made three 3-pointers in a row before leading 48-34 into halftime.
However, the Chinese players showed their fortitude after the restart to commence an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter, and cut Canada's margin to one with Han Xu's layup.
Trailing by four points heading into the final period, China induced another comeback to lead for the first time after Huang Sijing hit a three-pointer with 5:21 remaining.
Captain Shao Ting converted all of four free throws in the final one and a half minutes to keep China 75-71 ahead with 21.7 seconds from time. The ensuing steal from Huang Sijing proved pivotal to China's win.
Li Meng scored 18 points to lead China. Han Xu helped with 12 points and nine rebounds. Kia Nurse had 18 points for Canada.