September 27, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Sept. 27, 2022: Sydney Surprises — Opals flying high, Meesseman suffers calf injury

Plus: Quarter-final stage is set, USA post tournament-record 145 points

Happy Tuesday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the World Cup Recap. Now that the preliminary round has come to a close, we finally have the field set for the knockout stage of this year’s FIBA World Cup. Matches will begin Wednesday evening and extend well into the morning (ET), as we find out who will advance to the semifinal round. Pairings are as follows:

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Team 1Team 2Time (ET)Streaming
USASerbia10:00 p.m.ESPNU, ESPN+
CanadaPuerto Rico12:30 a.m.ESPN+, Courtside1891
ChinaFrance4:00 a.m.ESPN+
BelgiumAustralia6:30 a.m.ESPN+, Courtside1891

After a slow start, and star guard Rebecca Allen out with an injury, the Australian Opals are back in full swing. The Opals’ 13-point loss to France was hardly the opener they could’ve hoped for, but after a colossal win over Mali, Australia have returned to the heights expected of them on home court. With 16 points and five rebounds, Allen led the Opals to a 69–54 victory over Serbia, before she took a hard hit to her sides and had to be helped off the floor. But Australia’s fluid offense and energetic defense remained; Ezi Magbegor and Stephanie Talbot have elevated their play, with Talbot logging a near triple-double in Monday’s three-point win over Canada, who were undefeated going into the match. Magbegor remains a stalwart defensive presence for the Opals, and has only grown offensively, leading the team in scoring twice in four games.

Over in Group A, the Belgian Cats have taken a major blow to their roster. After what looked like simple off-ball movement, forward Emma Meesseman called for a substitution and left the court in pain. It was later announced that she had suffered an unspecified calf injury, and would miss the remainder of the World Cup. A timeline for recovery has yet to be announced. Meesseman, who has been playing almost non-stop since the Olympics, and was expected to head to Turkey at the conclusion of the World Cup as a member of Fenerbahçe. Whether her injury will cause her to miss time in the Turkish season is yet unknown. For Belgium, who will play a surging Opals team in the quarterfinals, Meesseman’s absence is certainly a blow.

Finally, Team USA posted a World Cup single-game scoring record during their match against Korea. What was a new Team USA scoring record of 122 by the mid-fourth quarter quickly escalated to 145 points off relentless scoring efforts from Betnijah Laney and Shakira Austin. The Next’s Scott Mammoser has more on the monumental victory.

Next, read:

  • Our Gabriella Lewis takes you inside Aari McDonald’s return to Arizona as director of recruiting.
  • Our Tyler DeLuca explores how Kansas State is preparing for a season without star Ayoka Lee.
  • Our Scott Mammoser details how Mystics rookie Shakira Austin found her place on Team USA and the early promise she’s shown on the international stage in the FIBA World Cup.

World Cup recap, Days 3–6

Day 3

USA beat China (CHN), 77–63. The two teams traded baskets until halftime, when USA pulled ahead by double-digits. CHN were unable to cut into the deficit enough to make a comeback, even as they shot 9.9 percentage points better from three than USA. USA forced 19 CHN turnovers which they converted for 23 points, and grabbed 10 more second-chance points to CHN’s 0. A’ja Wilson led USA with 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting (6–6 FT), eight rebounds (five offensive), two assists and two steals. Meng Li lead CHN and all scorers with 21 points on 7-for-17 shooting (3–6 3pt, 4–4 FT), two rebounds and two assists.

Korea (KOR) beat Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), 99–66. BIH took a slight lead early on, but KOR eventually took over. The two teams went basket-for-basket, until the late third quarter, as BIH couldn’t hold on thanks in part to 21 forced turnovers. Leeseul Kang led KOR, all scorers, and all performances in the tournament so far, with a massive 37 points on 13-for-21 shooting (7-for-14 3pt., 4–4 FT), eight rebounds (two offensive), five assists and three steals (a statline that, in the WNBA, has only ever been exceeded once, per Across the Timeline.) Jonquel Jones led BIH with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting (1–3 3pt.), nine rebounds and two assists.

Belgium (BEL) beat Puerto Rico (PUR), 68–65. The two teams were in lockstep for the entire match, the lead never eclipsing 10. Ultimately, free throws would make the difference in favor of BEL as the two teams battled to the end (seriously, you should watch this game back if you have time.) Kyara Linskens led BEL with a huge double-double of 24 points on 11-for-18 shooting (2–3 FT) and 13 rebounds. Arella Guirantes led PUR with an equally massive double-double of 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting (1–1 3pt., 2–4 FT) and 10 rebounds, alongside four assists and four steals on five turnovers.

Day 4

France (FRA) beat Mali (MLI), 74–59. The teams traded the lead back and forth early, until FRA took over in the mid-second quarter. From there, MLI would never lead as the FRA lead expanded to as much as 15. FRA had their way in the paint, logging 40 points in the painted area to MLI’s 24. Gabby Williams led FRA with 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting (4–5 FT), seven rebounds (two offensive) and six assists. Sika Koné led MLI and all scorers with an impressive double-double of 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting (2–3 3pt.) and 18 rebounds (seven offensive), along with two assists.

Australia (AUS) beat Serbia (SRB), 69–54. AUS took the early lead and never looked back as SRB couldn’t respond. AUS grabbed 12 second chance points to SRB’s one, and held it down in the paint, logging 14 more points in the post than SRB. Rebecca Allen led AUS with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting (6–6 FT), five rebounds and two assists. Yvonne Anderson led SRB with 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting (2–4 3pt.), seven rebounds (three offensive), six assists and two steals.

Canada (CAN) beat Japan (JPN), 70–56. CAN took over the lead by the mid-first quarter and was off to the races as JPN struggled to keep up. The CAN defense was especially stifling, forcing 14 JPN turnovers and keeping JPN to 31.9 percent from the field. Bridget Carleton led CAN and all scorers with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting (2–5 3pt.) and six rebounds. Maki Takada led JPN with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting (3–3 FT) and three rebounds.

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Day 5

Belgium beat Bosnia and Herzegovina, 85–55. The teams traded baskets through the first quarter, but BEL quickly took over in the opening minutes of the second. BEL grabbed eight more rebounds and held BIH to just 22 paint points, while scoring 38 of their own. Hind Ben Abdelkader led BEL and all scorers with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting (4–7 3pt) and three steals. For BIH, Matea Tavic had 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting (1–6 3pt.), four rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Serbia beat Mali, 81–68. The two teams were in lockstep until halftime, when SRB took over the lead and never looked back. SRB held it down in transition, logging 20 fast break points to MLI’s 14. Overall, MLI kept up with SRB in every category except scoring when they needed it most. Sasa Cado led SRB and all scorers with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting (6–10 3pt.), three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sika Koné led MLI with a double-double of 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting (3–3 FT) and 11 rebounds on seven turnovers.

USA beat Korea, 145–69. KOR kept up with USA through the late-first quarter, when the score sat tied at 21–21. Coming out of a time-out, however, the USA swapped out their lineup and shifted into their next gear, quickly taking over. By halftime, USA had blown the door open, though KOR had taken advantage of lackluster USA defense and managed a respectable 38 points by the end of the second. It wasn’t enough to stop a freight-train USA offense, which would go on to break the World Cup single-game scoring record, however. Brionna Jones led USA and all scorers with 24 points on a near-perfect 12-for-14 shooting, eight rebounds (four offensive) and three steals. Hyejin Park led KOR with 17 points on a near-perfect 7-for-8 shooting (3–4 3pt.) and three rebounds.

France beat Japan, 67–53. FRA took the early lead, but JPN clawed their way back to cut the lead to single digits in the final minutes of the second quarter. The teams went basket-for-basket until the opening of the fourth, when FRA went on a 15–0 run, effectively sealing the win. For FRA, Iliana Rupert logged a double-double of 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting and 12 rebounds (three offensive). Saori Miyazaki led JPN with 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting (1–5 3pt.), five rebounds and four assists.

China beat Puerto Rico, 95–60. PUR kept within single digits of CHN until the opening minutes of the second quarter, when CHN went full-throttle, mounting a gargantuan 30+ point lead heading into halftime, which PUR was unable to recover from. Yueru Li led CHN with 16 points on 8-for-12 shooting, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Trinity San Antonio led PUR with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting (3–4 FT), four rebounds (three offensive) and three steals on four turnovers, but CHN kept Arella Guirantes to just 12 points.

Australia beat Canada, 75–72. CAN took an early lead out of the first quarter, but AUS steadily fought their way back, taking back the lead as the first half came to a close. From there, the two teams traded baskets, CAN taking a slight lead over AUS through the mid-fourth. But, in a miraculous effort from Stephanie Talbot and Ezi Magbegor, AUS managed another comeback, pulling ahead by just enough to grab the win. The teams were equally matched in nearly every aspect, though CAN’s sub-70 percent free-throw percentage was surely less than ideal. Magbegor led AUS with 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting (4–4 FT), seven rebounds, and three assists. Nirra Fields led CAN with 17 points on 7-for-17 shooting (2–6 3pt.), six rebounds and three assists.

Day 6

Puerto Rico beat South Korea, 92-73. PUR surged to a 28-10 lead after one quarter and cruised from there, leading by as many as 31 in the showdown for the final knockout round spot. PUR qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time ever with the win. Mya Hollingshed led PUR with 29 points on 11-for-16 shooting (5-6 3pt), 12 rebounds and three assists. Hyejin Park led KOR with 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting (6-13 3pt), four rebounds and six assists.

China beat Belgium, 81-55. Playing without Meesseman for the first time, BEL kept this game very close for three quarters, trailing by only six entering the fourth. CHN pulled away in the final frame, outscoring BEL 27-10 in the fourth quarter to get the decisive win. Meng Li led CHN with 16 points on 7-for-23 shooting (2-2 FT), two rebounds and three assists. Kyara Linskens led BEL with 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting (2-2 FT) and seven rebounds.

USA beat Bosnia and Herzegovina, 121-59. BIH had the game within 30 points in the second half, but USA’s ball pressure led to 36 points off of 23 BIH turnovers. Nikolina Elez led BIH with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting, and J. Jones had seven points on 2-for-3 shooting and 10 rebounds. Kelsey Plum led USA with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting (2-4 3pt), four rebounds and seven assists. Jewell Loyd (rest) didn’t play for the USA in this game.

Canada beat Mali, 88–65. CAN quickly built a 10-point lead; even though MLI kept pace with CAN from the field, they couldn’t overcome CAN’s early scoring boost. Bridget Carleton led CAN with 27 points on 9-for-13 shooting (7–8 3pt.), eight rebounds and three assists. For MLI, Sika Koné had a double-double of 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting (4–6 FT) and 10 rebounds (four offensive.)

Serbia beat France, 68–62. SRB took an early lead, which they held on to, even as FRA came within four points in the final two minutes. Yvonne Anderson led SRB with 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting (6–6 FT), five rebounds, six assists and three steals on five turnovers and four fouls. Alexia Chartereau led FRA with 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting (1–5 3pt.), two rebounds and two assists.

Australia beat Japan, 71–54. The teams traded baskets through the first half, with JPN taking a slight edge over AUS. Out of halftime, however, Australia took back the lead and built a 10-point advantage that JPN couldn’t overcome. Marianna Tolo led AUS with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting (2–4 FT), six rebounds and two assists. Monica Okoye led JPN with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting (3–7 3pt.) and three rebounds.

Alex Simon contributed to this report.

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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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