USA, Spain into semis, Belgium stun France at FIBA World Cup

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-29 05:41:47|Editor: mmm
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TENERIFE, Spain, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Reigning champions the United States and hosts Spain booked their berths in semifinals, while debutantes Belgium stunned France at the 2018 FIBA Women's World Cup here on Friday.

The U.S. bounced back from a nightmare first quarter to see off Nigeria 71-40, winning their 20th straight match and one point away from being the first team ever to reach the 10,000-point milestone in the tournament's history.

Breanna Stewart made seven out of eight shots to score a game-high 19 points for the United States. Teammate A'Ja Wilson added 11.

The two-time defending champions were restrained by Nigeria, the first African team in World Cup quarterfinals, to an icy 13 percent in shooting field goals, and conceded eight turnovers in the opening period resulting in a 9-17 deficit.

The U.S. managed to go ahead for the first time since the tip-off at 24-23 following a three-pointer from Stewart with 2:04 remaining in the second quarter, before regaining their familiar offensive manner after the restart to extend their margin to double figure finishing consecutive fast breaks.

Enjoying an 11-point advantage heading into the final quarter, the U.S. took on a 12-0 run to pull away the match.

Next up against the powerhouse will be Belgium, who took on a strong second quarter to see off world's third-ranked France 86-65.

In their maiden trip at he tournament, Belgium had already caused surprises when they beat Spain by a margin of nine points to secure top place in the group and an automatic qualification into the last eight.

Leading by three points after first quarter, Belgium jumped to a 33-14 second quarter to set their tone for victory and held on to advantage afterwards.

Kim Mestdagh keyed Belgium's win with 23 points. Emma Meesseman provided with 16 points and nine rebounds. Julie Allemand dished out 13 assists.

Australia showed no mercy in front of China to triumph at 83-42. Center Liz Cambage scored 20 points in less than 20 minutes to lead Australia, added by Bec Allen's 16.

After the tip-off, China failed to restrain Cambage, who finished 10 points in the first quarter. At 14-7 down midway through this quarter, China were scoreless in more than four minutes. Australia set up a 24-7 cushion after the first quarter through a 10-0 spurt.

Australia maintained their lead over 20 points from the start of the second quarter. The 27-point deficit prior to the fourth quarter was quite hard for the Asian Games gold medalist to make up.

It was China's fifth consecutive defeat to Australia at major tournaments since 2002. Their talented center Li Yueru scored 12 points.

Australia will play Spain in Saturday's semifinals.

The hosts went neck-to-neck with Canada and built a 29-27 lead into the halftime.

The tussle continued in the second half, before Astou Ndour and Queralt Casas spearheaded a 9-0 run early in the final period.

Canada, scoreless in more than eight minutes, were trounced 21-3 by home side in the last quarter.

Ndour led Spain's scoring sheet with 16. Casas and Anna Cruz contributed 13 and 10 points respectively.