Han Xu of China goes for a lay-up during the Group A match against Belgium at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, Australia, on Sept 27, 2022. (HU JINGCHEN / XINHUA)
SYDNEY - China will play France in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup quarterfinals, as the United States will take on Serbia in its bid for a fourth straight title.
Host Australia and Belgium will square off in the knockout stage, while Canada will face Puerto Rico on Thursday
Host Australia and Belgium will square off in the knockout stage, while Canada will face Puerto Rico on Thursday.
After its fourth win from five games, China advanced as the group's second-placed finisher behind the unbeaten United States.
China led 54-45 after three quarters before powering away from Belgium, who had finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup, in a blistering final term assault.
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Li Meng top-scored with 16 points for China, who saw five players hit double figures.
"After playing two games in 24 hours, our players were tired in the first half," said China head coach Zheng Wei with her team having beaten Puerto Rico on Monday.
"In the second half, our players persisted and followed the strategy, especially in defense and rebounding," Zheng added.
Kyara Linskens had 14 points and seven rebounds for Belgium, who finished third in the group with a 3-2 record.
10-time champion the United States was the only unbeaten team in the group phase to extend its remarkable World Cup winning run to 27 games.
The overwhelming title favorite tuned up for the knockout phase with an easy 121-59 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Their offensive firepower was once again on show as the Americans hit triple figures for the third time from five games with guard Kelsey Plum pouring in 20 points and seven assists.
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"We know the responsibility when you put on this jersey. There's a lot more than yourself," Plum said. "Everyone puts pride to the side. We have a common goal. We have some amazing players on this team."
Australia had the top place in Group B in its sights against Asian champion and last year's Olympic silver medalist Japan.
After narrowly leading 36-34 at halftime, Australia made the move with the first seven points in the third quarter and fended off a rally from Japan in the final term to win 71-54 to ensure they would avoid the United States and China in the quarterfinals.
It was a bitter end for Japan, who had just one victory in the competition.
Canada (4-1) finished second in the group after beating Mali 88-65.
European champion Serbia leapfrogged France into third after a tight 68-62 victory. With a 3-2 record, France's campaign started spectacularly with an upset over Australia but has had mixed results since and will need to rediscover their best to challenge a confident China.
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