26 June, 2023
02 July
10 Ru Zhang (CHN), 8 Weina Jin (CHN)
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Preview: Who will make the Final in Sydney?

SYDNEY (Australia) - The Semi-Finals of the FIBA Women's AsiaCup 2023 in Sydney could be about to serve up a pair of classic encounters as the last four teams standing continue their title quest. 

Having already gained the satisfaction of knowing their place at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments is assured next year, they will put their dreams of making Paris on hold as they keep their eyes fixed on the prize in Sydney. 

Here's what you need to know as we look ahead to two huge games.

Japan vs New Zealand - 08:00 (Local) 

As they continue to chase their sixth straight title, Japan will be huge favorites to get it done against the Tall Ferns, but the underdogs can still bite and have only lost once in the competition so far. 

Key matchups:  Two of the biggest stars of the competition will meet in the backcourt, although not necessarily directly. Still, it will be so much fun to watch Mai Yamamoto of Japan continue her breakout tournament, while Charlisse Leger-Walker was outstanding to get her team to the Semi-Final with that scoring deluge against Philippines. If one of these players comes up big again, they will play a big role in sending their respective teams towards the title game.

X-Factor: Transition defense by New Zealand should be a big determining factor. The slower the game is, the more you feel that a half-court encounter means that the Tall Ferns prospects of a shock win go up. It's tough to play strong perimeter defense all night against Japan's ball movement, but if you also let them get out on the fast break, especially from turnovers, it's game over in a hurry. As well as looking at three-point percentage in the stats in this game, look for fast break points. That needs to be a low number for Japan if New Zealand want to keep close. 

Stats Don't Lie: Japan know how to punish teams and accumulate more than 20 points per outing off turnovers. 

Did You Know? This is HISTORY for the Tall Ferns as New Zealand have never previously made the Semi-Finals of the competition. 

China vs Australia - 19:30 (Local)

This could be such an epic game now that Australia have brought out a big performance to tick off the OQT spot and maybe the pressure will be slightly less now. China have their own pressures as they are so desperate to break Japan's stranglehold on this competition. However, it won't be easy for them to make the title game and take on their great rivals. 

Key matchups:  How good will it be to see China's Xu Han doing battle with Opals' center Lauren Scherf. Both are the form players for their respective nations and in the case of the former, she has caught fire and never dropped a gear. She has carried China at times if the truth be told, whereas Scherf has been able to impress on an Australia team where there are arguably more contributors. Although she has still been the standout baller in the green and gold. It's going to be such  a fascinating battle in the paint and will Xu Han make the best use of that extended shooting range to stretch her opponent? 

X-Factor: China have to make some plays from downtown. They are not even breaking 30 percent from behind the three-point line. It's good having Xu Han inside or Meng Li with those drives into the paint from the wing, but those are arguably offensive taps the Opals could turn  off. China maybe needs a third dimension and their guards actually shooting the ball with any kind of consistency from deep would be one way. 

Stats Don't Lie: Opals have lived up to the billing when it comes to getting it done using the team ethic rather than with one or two standout stars. They are averaging a phenomenal 44.5 points per game off the bench.

Did You Know? This is the first time that China and Australia have met in the Semi-Finals in the competition. 


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