China will aim to dethrone the United States in Saturday’s FIBA Women’s World Cup final in Sydney.
In a pulsating semi-final showcasing the best of women’s basketball, China guaranteed themselves a first medal in 28 years with a 61-59 triumph over hosts Australia.
In front of 11,916 fans at the Sydney Superdome, which included Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming, Siyu Wang hit a pair of game-winning free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Ezi Magbegor had the chance to take the game into overtime, but her final attempt at keeping Australia’s hopes of a home final agonisingly fell short.
Xu Han went 8/10 from the field on her way to a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. She also added five blocks to her impressive tally.
China will aim to release the United States stranglehold on the World Cup trophy, as the U.S. reached their sixth final in seven editions, following a blistering 27-7 tear in the first quarter, leading to an 83-43 win over Canada in the first semi-final.
And just like they have done throughout this tournament, the U.S. broke the record barriers once more as this latest win saw the biggest winning margin ever in the competition for a semi-final, beating their previous highest figure of 36.
They also held Canada to the lowest ever points tally in the semi-finals, smashing the 53 scored by Korea against Russia in 2002.
The evergreen Breanna Stewart scored more triples than she had in a previous FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup game, going 4/5 from downtown en route to 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and three assists.
A’Ja Wilson posted a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds to support Stewart.
“That’s the beauty of USA basketball, we aren’t together for long, but we know our goal, and that’s winning gold,” Wilson said.
“We put everything aside, and we just have fun with it. It’s just really locked in to be cohesive and having chemistry, and we just let our talents do the rest.”
Australia will have a chance to end their home tournament on a high as they square off against Canada for the bronze medal.