China, Belgium reach QF's, USA sets record

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China and Belgium booked their places in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup quarterfinals ahead of their head-to-head, while the United States produced a record-breaking victory over South Korea on Monday.

Wang Siyu (L) of China goes up for a basket during a Group A match between China and Puerto Rico at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 26, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

China thrashed Puerto Rico 95-60, and Belgium defeated winless Bosnia and Herzegovina 85-55 on the penultimate day of the group phase.

With their third victories from four games, China and Belgium joined three-time defending champion the United States as teams from Group A to have qualified for the knockout stage.

China and 2018 World Cup fourth-placed finisher Belgium will conclude the group phase on Tuesday with a top two spot up for grabs.

It was an even performance from China, who never relented with all 12 players hitting the scoreboard. Center Li Yueru led with 16 points and eight rebounds, forward Zhang Ru finished with 14 points, and sharpshooter Huang Sijing added 12 points.

The Chinese team hit 57.7 percent from the field, including 11 of 25 from three-point range, and had a staggering 41 assists with 11 players contributing to the tally.

The 18-year-old Trinity San Antonio scored a game-high 19 points for Puerto Rico, who was never in the contest trailing 51-25 at halftime.

Point guard Hind Ben Abdelkader scored 18 points for Belgium, who ended World Cup debutant BiH's faint chances of qualifying for the knockout stage.

The United States, who had already locked up a quarterfinal spot, maintained their unbeaten record with a 145-69 rout of South Korea. They set a new all-time World Cup scoring record, which was previously held by Brazil who had crushed Malaysia 143-50 in 1990.

Eight U.S. players hit double figures led by Brionna Jones with 24 points and eight rebounds, as the team easily beat their previous World Cup landmark of 119 points.

"Our size was a problem for them and I thought we shared the ball well," said U.S. head coach Cheryl Reeve.

The winner of Tuesday's game between South Korea and Puerto Rico will finish fourth in Group A and secure a quarterfinal berth.

In Group B, France had a 67-53 victory over Asian champion and last year's Olympic silver medalist Japan, who has been eliminated ahead of their clash against host Australia on Tuesday.

Australia overcame a 14-point first-half deficit to record a 75-72 comeback victory and inflicted Canada's first loss as the battle for Group B top spot intensified.

With three victories, Australia, Canada and France will compete for top two finishes having secured their places in the knockout stage.

Serbia's 81-68 victory over winless Mali, who has been knocked out, ensured the European champion progressed ahead of their clash with France on the final day of the group phase.

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