SYDNEY (Australia) – The USA are celebrating winning another FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup title after a mammoth crowd at the Sydney Superdome watched them shoot down China 83-61 in the Final.
The near 16,000 fans in attendance watched China compete well in the early stages, only for the USA to show their class as they eased away for their fourth title in a row and 11th in total.
Turning point: China were keeping pace with the USA impressively until early in the second quarter when the reigning champions visibly shifted up a gears at both ends. A rare four point play by Kelsey Plum sparked a strong run for USA who jumped into the boxseat as they built a 43-33 advantage at the break.
Game hero(es): A’Ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray really brought it for the USA, with the former dropping 19 points and pulling down 5 rebounds. Gray claimed 10 points and an eye-catching 8 assists. Meanwhile Yueru Li had her best game of the competition in defeat with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Stats Don’t Lie: A huge difference-maker was points from turnovers with USA converting 18 compared to just 4 for China.
Bottom line: USA were superb from start to finish in this tournament. It felt and looked like a new era and in this title game itself, despite a slower than usual start, they turned the defensive screw and once they got some transition scores,China couldn’t live with it. USA were worthy winners.
But, China are coming. They are getting better and better and with their first silver medal since 1994 which was also the last time the event was hosted in Australia, they picked up a deserved reward. An illness in the past days to the in-form and hugely influential Meng Li was a blow and she was not herself in this title game. However, China are young and evolving team who play great basketball and they look capable of being a podium regular at global events from this point onwards.
“China is a very good basketball team and I feel bad for them that Li Meng was not able to play. I have watched them grow up and I am happy they got the silver. We were really determined and defensively today we had 40 deflections. We had some great moments in the game and obviously A’Ja Wilson was spectacular,” – USA head coach, Cheryl Reeve.
“According to my TISSOT watch, we’re gold medalists. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but I am blessed to be in this situation. I came here with a goal and that was to get gold.” – 2022 MVP and USA star, A’Ja Wilson