SYDNEY, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The United States overwhelmed Puerto Rico 106-42 on Friday for its second consecutive win, while China also continued its top gear to claim a 98-51 victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) after trouncing South Korea 107-44 in Thursday's opener.
In the second game day of the 2022 Women's Basketball World Cup, both teams showed glimpses of their huge potential, adding up sizeable expectations for their head-to-head on Saturday.
"The U.S. team has always been a basketball powerhouse, and we are a group of young players. We will try our best to maintain our current form and perform even better than today," Li Yueru told reporters after contributing 13 points, nine rebounds and one assist to China's triumph over BiH.
Apart from Li, nine other Chinese players had their names on the scoreboard with five reaching double figures. Han Xu and Li Meng led the way with 18 and 17 points respectively.
Though BiH marquee player Jonquel Jones tipped off the game with a 3-pointer and notched 11 points, four rebounds and one assist in less than 10 minutes, China led the first quarter 26-21 before extending the advantage to 19 points by half-time and locking up a 47-point biggest lead.
"The players were very determined to execute, so there were a lot of steals, which reduced the opponent's hit rate. The players also played at our speed to attack opponents," Chinese head coach Zheng Wei said at the post-game press conference. "(The plan) was executed firmly, so the game was going at our pace after the first quarter and it went very well too."
For Puerto Rico, the second gameday was definitely not a "yesterday once more," as they swallowed a bitter 106-42 loss to three-time defending champions the United States.
With an average height of 1.79 cm, 6cm shorter than their U.S. opponents, Puerto Rico players were outplayed in both offensive and defensive ends. Arella Guirantes, the top performer of Puerto Rico's opening day victory over BiH with 26 points, managed only seven in this match.
The U.S. breezed to a 27-11 lead in the first quarter, during which Alyssa Thomas made five steals, only one short of the World Cup record set by her countrywoman Tamika Catchings in 2002.
Mya Hollingshed, with a team-high 10 points, did her best to keep Puerto Rico in the game, but the U.S. proved to be unstoppable in extending its lead to a whopping 64-point differential, with six players earning double-digit scores.
22-year-old center Shakira Austin combined for a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, while the top performer title went to Brionna Jones, who scored 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Looking ahead to their next opponent, U.S. team Captain Breanna Stewart told Xinhua that she has respect for China, knowing that they prepared a long time for the World Cup and really have that chemistry together.
"But we want to play that we want to play and not let them play the way that they want to play," said Stewart.
Like Puerto Rico, Japan and France didn't get a second bite of victory on their Friday tests. Japan trailed Serbia 24-9 after the first quarter and made enormous comeback efforts thereafter but had to swallow a 69-64 loss as the time ran out.
Canada remained undefeated after nailing a 59-45 win over France. Belgium, crashed by the United States in Thursday's opener, clawed its way back into the game by defeating South Korea 84-61.
On Friday night, joy burst out among the Australian crowd as they witnessed a staggering 118-58 triumph of the Opals over Mali. All 12 Aussie players made their marks in 118 points and seven of them hit double-digits. The iconic 41-year-old Lauren Jackson added eight points in eight minutes and 45 seconds on the court. ■