China beat France 85-71 in a dramatic quarterfinal game in the Sydney SuperDome, making it four straight losses for the French.
Since the introduction of Quarter-Finals in 1998, China has never won till now.
They finally put to rest the demons of their three previous Quarter-Final defeats and seem to be closing in on making up for lost time in their quest for a medal. The year was 1994, and the competition was held in Australia. Having won the championship game, they settled for silver.
The Chinese team, which has clearly improved greatly in recent years and appears primed for success, once again displayed their physical and imposing presence all over the court against a French team that fought admirably but was ultimately undone by the rotation, activity, and strength of this China team. The victor of this match had remarkable mental and physical fortitude.
With a huge three-punch from Sijing Huang, Meng Li, and Xu Han in the last five minutes, China was able to pull away and win.
Li drilled several huge jumpers in the last minutes to finish with a team-high 23 points, while Huang, the wing, added 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
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Han’s presence in the paint was also crucial, as she scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and came within a rebound of a double-double. The game was also decided by the play of Yuan Li, a teenage point guard who played 25 minutes and contributed 10 points, 7 assists, and a +/- of +20.
France’s involvement comes to an end with a 3-3 record, while China advances to face either Australia or Belgium in the semi-finals. In the event of Belgium’s loss versus Australia, no European team will advance to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Finals for only the third time in tournament history. There has never been a French team in the final four of the women’s international basketball tournament. But Jean-Aime Toupane’s squad has showed a lot of promise despite losing a number of key players. Throughout the competition, Gabby Williams was outstanding (17 points and 6 assists), while Marine Fauthoux is gaining valuable experience (19 points versus China).