September 25, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Sept. 25, 2022: Sydney Scribbles — Puerto Rico earns first World Cup victory, USA, Canada qualified for knock-out round

Plus: Arella Guirantes' breakout performance and Kia Nurse makes valiant return

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and the World Cup Recap. The FIBA World Cup is in full swing, following three action-packed days of play. Puerto Rico shone brightly in their opener, beating Bosnia and Herzegovina 82–58 for their first win on the World Cup stage. Arella Guirantes put up a huge 26 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the win and has only continued her dominant play. In stats per game, Guirantes leads the tournament in points and is second in steals, seventh in rebounds per game and seventh in assists per game.

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Even as Puerto Rico took a tough loss to the U.S. in their second game, they rebounded against Belgium, coming up just three points short. Guirantes and Puerto Rico will look for a standout showing against Korea in their final match as they compete for the final Group A spot in the quarter-final.

Then, Canada saw the return of Kia Nurse, whose impact so far has been quiet but steady. After suffering an ACL injury in last year’s WNBA playoffs, Nurse’s return has been teased repeatedly throughout the 2022 WNBA season. Now making her return with Canada, Nurse sits at ~20 minutes per game, Nurse has averaged 7.7 points, two rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Her first points came on a backdoor layup, which resulted in an and-one after taking contact from Serbia on her way up. “It’s really fun to be out there,” Nurse told the Associated Press. “The first basket I scored calmed everything down. The contact on it was one of the scary things when you’re coming back.”

Canada leads Group B with three wins and zero losses and have also qualified for the quarter-final round. France and Australia sit at two wins each and round out spots two and three. Serbia and Japan sit at fourth and fifth respectively. Japan has remaining games against Australia and France, while Serbia will play Mali and France. So plenty of movement remains possible in Group B.

USA leads Group A with three wins and zero losses and have already qualified for the quarter-final round. China and Belgium have two wins each, having both lost to the USA. Puerto Rico and Korea take up spots four and five, respectively, with both teams sitting at one win each. The two teams will face each other in what will likely be the deciding match for the final Group A spot in the knock-out round.

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Next, read:

  • Our Scott Mammoser details Puerto Rico’s first victory on the World Cup stage, which came Tuesday against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Our Michelle Smith explores UCLA and USC’s transition to the Big Ten and the challenges they are already working through to ensure a successful season.
  • Our Jacqueline LeBlanc closes the book on a Connecticut Sun season that, despite its ups and downs, was pivotal for the franchise.
  • Kahleah Copper gives us the next edition of the AP’s player diaries, documenting her time in Sydney for the World Cup.

Watch list, WWC Day 4

(All times in Eastern, Game of the Day in bold)

Monday, Sept. 26

Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9:30 p.m., Courtside1891, ESPN+

Serbia vs. Mali, 11:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

Korea vs. USA, 12:00 a.m., ESPN2

France vs. Japan, 2:00 a.m., Courtside1891, ESPN+

China vs. Puerto Rico, 3:30 a.m., Courtside1891, ESPN+, FIBA YouTube Channel

Canada vs. Australia, 6:30 a.m., Courtside1891, ESPN+

World Cup recap, Days 1 and 2

Day 1

Puerto Rico (PUR) beat Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), 82–58. PUR took an early lead and never looked back, limiting BIH to 34.10 percent from two-point range and out-rebounding BIH by 11. PUR grabbed 10 steals, contributing to 15 BIH turnovers, and out-scored BIH by 16 in the paint. BIH never led. Arella Guirantes led PUR and all scorers with 26 points on 12-for-22 shooting (1–4 3pt), nine rebounds and eight assists. Jonquel Jones led BIH with 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting (1–3 3pt.), eight rebounds and four assists.

USA beat Belgium (BEL), 87–72. The USA built a considerable lead by the end of the first quarter, but by halftime, BEL had cut the lead to single digits. However, it didn’t last long as the USA rebuilt and maintained a 15-point lead. USA had their way in the paint, out-scoring BEL by 20 in the post while forcing 25 BEL turnovers. The BEL bench provided some momentum, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the USA lead. Breanna Stewart led the USA and all scorers with 22 points on 8-for-18 shooting (2–4 3pt.), four rebounds and three assists. Julie Vanloo led BEL with 13 points on 4-for-9 from the field (3–8 3pt.) and four rebounds on six turnovers.

Canada (CAN) beat Serbia (SRB), 67–60. The two teams traded baskets through the mid-second quarter, the lead changing hands seven times before CAN pulled away with the first significant lead. CAN took advantage of every SRB misstep, grabbing 10 more fast break points, 11 more second-chance points and 20 points off of 19 SER turnovers. Kayla Alexander led CAN with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting and seven rebounds. Yvonne Anderson led SRB and all scorers with 18 points on 7-for-14 from the field (1–4 3pt.), five rebounds and three assists.

Japan (JPN) beat Mali (MLI), 89–56. The lead passed between the two teams until the second quarter when JPN scored 26 points to take an 18-point lead. From there, MLI would never lead, despite out-rebounding JPN by seven, including 13 more offensive rebounds. JPN took advantage in transition, logging 11 more fast break points and shot 43.20 percent from three (a total of 16-for-37 from behind the arc.) Aika Hirashita led JPN and all scorers with 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting (5–6 3pt.) and three rebounds. For MLI, Sika Koné had a double-double of 10 points on 4-for-15 shooting, 14 rebounds (eight offensive) and four assists on five turnovers.

China (CHN) beat Korea (KOR), 107–44. CHN took an early lead and never looked back, the lead eventually ballooning to 63 as KOR struggled to get their shots to fall. CHN had their way in the paint, scoring 60 points in the post to JPN’s 18 and out-rebounded JPN by 29 (all of which were defensive rebounds.) For CHN, Liwei Yang led with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting, three rebounds and four assists. Jihyun Park led JPN with 14 points on 5-for-15 from the field (1–4 3pt.), three rebounds and two steals…

France (FRA) beat Australia (AUS), 70–57. The teams traded baskets through the mid-third quarter, the lead changing hands seven times before FRA forged a multiple-possession lead. FRA shot 22 percentage points better from the field while AUS grabbed 13 more offensive rebounds for nine more second-chance points. Gabby Williams led FRA with 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting (3–5 3pt.), three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Rebecca Allen led AUS with 16 points on 6-for-16 from the field (2–6 3pt.) and four rebounds.

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Day 2

USA beat Puerto Rico, 106–42. USA took an early lead and never looked back, the lead becoming as large as 64 as they limited PUR to just 13 made baskets from the field. USA shot 24.5 percentage points better from three and grabbed 23 more rebounds than PUR. In addition, USA had 13 steals, contributing to the 21 PUR turnovers, which USA converted for 28 points. Shakira Austin led USA and all scorers with a double-double of 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting (7–9 FT) and 10 rebounds (three offensive) on five fouls. For PUR, Trinity San Antonio notched eight points on 1-for-10 shooting (6–6 FT) and five rebounds (two offensive).

Serbia beat Japan, 69–64. Although SRB maintained the lead throughout, JPN stayed close behind and twice came within striking distance. JPN’s success in transition (taking 11 fast break points to SRB’s 2) wasn’t enough to overcome the SRB lead, as they converted 11 offensive rebounds into 14-second chance points and forced 16 JPN turnovers. Jovana Nogic led SRB with 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting (3–9 3pt.), nine rebounds (three offensive) and two assists. Maki Takada led JPN with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting (4–4 FT) and two rebounds.

Belgium beat Korea, 84–61. BEL took an early lead and never looked back, the lead becoming as large as 28. KOR struggled to find their shooting rhythm and BEL took over on the glass, grabbing 12 more rebounds and 24 more paint points. Hind Ben Abdelkader led BEL with 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting (3–7 3pt.), three rebounds and two assists. For KOR, Jihyun Park had nine points on 3-for-13 shooting (1–6 3pt.), four rebounds and three assists.

China beat Bosnia and Herzegovina, 98–51. The teams went basket for basket until the late first quarter when CHN started to build up a lead, which would balloon to as much as 47. CHN forced 15 BIH turnovers, which CHN converted for 20 points. CHN also had their way in transition, scoring 22 more points on a fast break. Xu Han led CHN and all scorers with 18 points on 8-for-17 points (1–5 3pt.) and seven rebounds (two offensive). Jonquel Jones led BIH with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting (1–2 3pt.), nine rebounds and two assists against four turnovers.

Canada beat France, 59–45. CAN took the early lead and never looked back, even as FRA came within three at the mid-second. As the CAN lead expanded to as much as 20, FRA could not respond. CAN out-rebounded FRA by 18, most of which came from offensive rebounds and converted 14 FRA turnovers to 21 points. Nirra Fields led CAN with 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting (1–4 3pt.), six rebounds and two steals. Gabby Williams led FRA with 13 points on 6-for-15 shooting and eight rebounds.

Australia beat Mali, 118–58. AUS took the early lead and never looked back, the lead becoming as large as 60 as they held MLI to just 20 made baskets on 71 attempts. AUS took over in the paint, scoring 20 more points in the post and grabbing 22 more rebounds. For AUS, Calya George had 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting (4–6 3pt.), seven rebounds and four assists. For Mali, Djeneba N’Diaye led with 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting (4–9 3pt.) and four steals.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing editor for The Next from upstate New York. She occasionally covers 3x3 and labor in women's basketball.

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