It’s time to bid farewell to the Group Phase of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup as well as the bottom four teams after six days and 30 basketball matches. All eyes will now be on the quarterfinals, where the top four teams in each group will try to maintain their World Cup campaigns, following a day of relaxation on Wednesday.
The USA, together with Belgium, China, and Puerto Rico, came up on top of Group A following an utterly overwhelming performance during the Group Phase that included breaking the all-time record for points in a game.
The competition in Group B, also known as the “Group of Death,” was much closer, but Australia prevailed after scoring strong victories over Canada and Japan. The second group also includes France, Canada, and Serbia. Even while the Opals, should they get that far, will be assured to play the Americans until the finals thanks to this group win, there won’t be any easy games moving forward for anyone.
USA v Serbia, 12:00 p.m. AEST (10:00 p.m. E.T.)
The World Cup’s first quarterfinal will pit the favorites the United States against Serbia, a match that will almost certainly result in a sizable American victory. Serbia had a mixed competition, going 3-2 in the Group Phase with victories against France and Japan but also defeats to Canada and Australia.
The United States, on the other hand, has appeared to be virtually unbeatable, being unbeaten thus far with their closest game being their opener against Belgium, in which half their lineup had yet to arrive due to the WNBA Finals.
Puerto Rico v Canada, 2:30 p.m. AEST (12:30 am E.T.)
Puerto Rico’s unexpected victory over Korea earned them a spot in the quarterfinals, making them the tournament’s upbeat story so far. However, they must step up their game significantly if they want to keep the fairytale alive because they will be competing against a Canadian squad that has yet to lose a game.
Canada, whose lone defeat came at the hands of Australia, is a legitimate medal contender in this matchup, and Puerto Rico will have their work cut out for them.
China v France, 6:00 p.m. AEST (4:00 a.m. E.T.)
Due to the two most effective offenses competing to terminate the other’s season early, this game has the makings of a major blockbuster. China would be the tournament favorites if not for the USA, having suffered their lone defeat thus far at the hands of the Americans while compiling four overwhelming victories.
France has been far less reliable, gaining significant victories over Australia and Japan but losing to Canada and Serbia. They will need to do something extraordinary to halt China’s progression toward the Finals.
Australia v Belgium, 8:30 p.m. AEST (6:30 a.m. E.T.)
On paper, Australia should easily win the game that concludes the quarterfinals. The Opals would not lose another game after a difficult start in which they were defeated by France. Gritting their teeth, they managed to finish first in Group B.
With losses to the USA and China, Belgium finished Group Phase play with a record of 3-2. However, the tournament’s loss of Emma Meesseman for the remainder of the competition due to a calf injury is a devastating blow, and Belgium will need to come back strongly to compete against an Opals team that is peaking at the ideal time.