Five Women's Asia Cup standouts who shined in the World Cup
SYDNEY (Australia) - The women from Asia and Oceania turned lots of heads at the recent FIBA Basketball Women's World Cup, but for the loyal fans, it didn't come as a big surprise.
While most fans witnessed - and were left in awe - their exploits only in the global showpiece, Women's Asia Cup fans already had an inkling of what they're capable of thanks to the 2021 editiion of the competition in Jordan.
So, here are five players from last year's continental conclave that did not shy away from the bright lights of the game's biggest stage.
KANG LEE SEUL (Korea)
Women's World Cup: 17.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 13.2 EFF
Women's Asia Cup: 10.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 9.5 EFF
Kang Lee Seul took Sydney by storm following her historic performance to steer Korea to their first Women's World Cup win in a very long while.
The 28-year-old fired 37 points on 7 three-pointers, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, setting as well the Women’s World Cup efficiency record with 44 EFF as she starred in their 99-66 mauling of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Yes, she erased the record previously set by no less than Liz Cambage, who had an efficiency rating of 41 back in the 2018 edition in Spain.
Kang went on to emerge as second-best scorer of the tournament with 17.2 points on 41.7-percent shooting, making it a memorable campaign personally after winless runs in the two previous Women's World Cup editions.
HAN XU (China)
Women's World Cup: 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 17.6 EFF
Women's Asia Cup: 13.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 18.2 EFF
China pulled off a run to remember by achieving their first Women's World Cup podium finish in almost 30 years and Xu Han played a major role in it.
The 2.05 M (6'9") center chose the best time to flex all the lessons she learned dating back to her youth team years not so long ago, helping the Asian powerhouse clinch just their second silver after winning one in 1994.
Her best performance of the tourney took place in the Semi-Finals. She tallied 19 points on an 8-of-10 clip from the floor, 10 rebounds, and a record-tying 5 blocks as China stunned hosts Australia in a 61-59 thriller.
Xu was also one of those who stood out stats-wise. She was among the competition's Top 15 scorers (12th), the fifth-best rebounder, and shared leadership of the blocks department on her way to the All-Star Five.
SAMI WHITCOMB (Australia)
Women's World Cup: 11.0 points, 2.3 assists, 3.6 assists, 9.5 EFF
Women's Asia Cup: 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 23.7 EFF
Samantha Whitcomb was one of Australia's most seasoned players but, as they always say, age is only a number as she top-scored for her side in the meet.
The 34-year-old guard led the Opals with 11.0 points, highlighted by a troika of 15-point performances - two of which she did in back-to-back fashion to steer her side to wins over Canada and Japan, respectively.
She also notched 3.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds as she helped the hosts cop the bronze medal at the expense of, coincidentally, the Canadians.
Such a feat was yet another addition to her medal collection with Australia, next to the 2018 Women's World Cup silver and a 2021 Asia Cup bronze.
LI YUERU (China)
Women's World Cup: 10.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 14.5 EFF
Women's Asia Cup: 15.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 22.2 EFF
Li Yueru was yet another key piece of China who showed that she can be one of the program's reliables after exemplifying efficiency in the Women's World Cup.
The 23-year-old center was one of the most efficient scorers of the tournament with a 60.3-percent clip on her way to averaging 10.1 points, alongside 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists - all enough for a spot in the All-Second Team.
Standing at 2.0 M (6'7"), she saved her best for last, registering 19 points and 12 rebounds - both team-highs - to banner the Chinese squad's brave stand against eventual gold medalists United States in the Final.
SAORI MIYAZAKI (Japan)
Women's World Cup: 7.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 8.2 EFF
Women's Asia Cup: 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 9.6 assists, 19.2 EFF
Saori Miyazaki still managed to provide a sense of stability through her floor generalship despite a forgettable campaign by Japan.
Her numbers may be far from what she posted in the Women's Asia Cup but never did her playmaking go away as she averaged a team-best 5.2 assists across five games they played in the Group Phase.
She tallied 6 assists to help the reigning Asia Cup queens open their World Cup triumphantly with an 89-56 beatdown of Mali, but what was expected to be a promising run turned out otherwise as they lost their next four games.
The 25-year-old finished the tournament with norms of 7.0 points - including a 13-point effort against France - and 2.2 rebounds.