China storms home ahead of finals

CHINA has finished its regular batch of games at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup with a big final period in its win against Belgium on Tuesday afternoon.

The victors had been one of the stronger sides coming into the match, and barring a hiccup against the powerhouse team of the competition, had not dropped a game and looked likely to take home the result on the eve of finals.

However, the result was only sealed in the fourth quarter, as China blew out its opponents with a mamoth 10 minutes of play to snatch a 26-point triumph in Sydney and set itself up for a big finals campaign.

The opening quarter was more of a scrap than many expected as Belgium would not let their Chinese opponents get out to any sort of significant lead. Any basket from China was almost immediately answered, and Belgium trailed by just three points at the first break.

It was more of the same in the second period, as Belgium kept itself in the contest, but did not manage to make up any ground. Heading into half time, China led by seven points, and while it was an impressive scrap from the Belgians, they would need to do better than that in order to slow down a China side that was chugging along nicely.

The third term was the closest of the game, as Belgium lifted its efficiency and produced its highest scoring quarter of the match. Unfortunately, China was able to do slightly better, and extend the margin to nine points with one quarter of play remaining.

Any hope of a comeback was wiped in rapid fashion to start the fourth period, as China put the foot down and got its offensive game rolling. Belgium simply ran out of legs and were overran by a determined China team that looks to have a serious crack at winning it all.

Meng Li top scored for the winning side, and although she was inefficient (7/23 FG), she still somehow found a way to deliver a game-high 16 points. Also impressing was Siyu Wang, who did a bit of everything with a statline of 11 points, five boards and six assists.

Kyara Linskens was the shining light for Belgium, leading the offence to finish the match with 14 points and seven rebounds, playing a crucial role in the opening three quarters.

Other results to kick off Tuesday’s action saw Puerto Rico take an early lead against Korea and cruise home to a 19-point win, while the United States continued to flex their muscles with a 62-point thrashing of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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