THE United States have won the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup after defeating China to the tune of 22 points in the gold medal match on Saturday.
The overwhelming favourites for the entirety of the tournament, the United States were simply too good in the deciding match, and proved to be worthy winners after a dominant campaign.
It was a reasonably competitive start to the match, with the United States only edging ahead slightly as China fought hard defensively to close out on the opposition’s looks. Inaccuracy from both sides from downtown saw China trail by just five points at the first change.
Scoring lifted from both teams in the second period, but it was still the United States that were able to push their scoreboard advantage just that bit further. A’Ja Wilson went to work in the paint, and China’s bigs could not compete. At half-time, the United States held a 10-point lead and were looking slightly too good without putting the game away.
Quarter number three was where the United States truly took over, excelling on both ends and proving to be a class above the opposition. China could simply not find the bottom of the net, with a mixture of inaccuracy and hassling defence from the U.S. playing a big role. The U.S. fired on the offensive end to extend the lead to 21 heading into the last, with China needing a miracle.
The final term saw both sides struggle with some wayward shooting, as overall scoring took a big hit. Just 29 points were scored for the entire quarter, but it is fair to say the U.S. took the foot off the pedal a bit. In the end, they emerged 83-61 victors, claiming gold to top off their unbeaten run in the tournament.
Wilson top scored for the match with 19 points, all coming from inside the arc. Her run in the second term was crucial to holding off China’s push, as she played a pivotal role in the decider. Kelsey Plum was not far behind with 17 points, including cashing in on a pair of threes, while Chelsea Gray did a bit of everything with 10 points, four boards and eight dimes.
Yueru Li could not have done much more despite the loss. She was massive on the boards and delivered a double-double of 19 points and 12 boards, with five coming on the offensive end as she punished the lack of boxing out from her opponents.
Meanwhile, the Australian Opals have managed to claim the bronze medal after defeating Canada to the tune of 30 points. The team rallied behind a vintage performance from Lauren Jackson, who had 30 points and seven boards in a magnificent display.