On Tuesday, Puerto Rico secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Basketball World Cup with a “fairytale” 92-73 victory over South Korea. On the last day of group play at the 10-day event in Sydney. Mya Hollingshed scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a must-win contest.
The loss eliminated the Koreans from the tournament, while 17th-ranked Puerto Rico advanced with two victories out of five in Group A. The Caribbean islanders jumped to an early lead. Increasing their advantage to 18 points by the end of the first quarter. Without their injured star player Park Ji-us, the Koreans fought back in the second and third quarters and won the fourth, but their weak showing in the first half proved fatal.
Due largely to Arella Guirantes’ outstanding play, Puerto Rico advanced to the postseason in only their second World Cup appearance after failing to win a single game in 2018. The deadly shooting guard scored 18 points, grabbed five boards, and dished out five assists. Coach Jung Sun-min of South Korea stated her squad was exhausted after the competition but gracious in defeat.
Puerto Rico | First-time World Cup quarterfinalist
On Thursday, the last eight teams will begin play, with Puerto Rico joining the United States’ ten-time champion. And hosting games against Australia, China, Belgium, Canada, France, and Serbia. After the last group games are played, the pairings for the knockout round will be set. The United States is guaranteed to play either the third or fourth-place team from Group B. Having already secured first place in Group A. The victor of China and Belgium will move on as the second seed from Pool A.
Depending on how they do in their last matches, France, Canada, and Australia all have a shot at winning Group B. Or finishing second to escape the powerful Americans. Canada plays winless Mali, while France takes on Serbia.
Mali’s players are in chaos after being seen on tape assaulting each other in the media zone following their loss on Monday. FIBA had opened a disciplinary investigation after a video showed Salimatou Kourouma punching a teammate many times before other Mali players intervened.
After losing their first game to France, Australia has won three in a row and now faces a Japanese side. It has been a pale imitation of the one that won silver at their home Olympics in Tokyo.
“Very proud of our team. We have a mix of young players with veteran players,” said Puerto Rico coach Jerry Batista.
“So for us who have been here for a couple of years working. And trying to develop Puerto Rico basketball, it is great.
“The better team deserved the win today,” she said.
“It is like a fairytale… it shows that if you work, you can achieve everything,” he added.