Who was each nation's MVP at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022?
SYDNEY (Australia) - There were plenty of outstanding performances during the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022, but who was the MVP for each individual nation?
We take a look at those who lit it up in a big way in Sydney.
Australia - Steph Talbot
Statistics: 15.3 EFF; 8.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG 5.3 APG
Aside from the Lauren Jackson fairytale, the sub-plot of this event and the Opals display was Talbot's impressive work. She was never going to be prolific scoring-wise but did everything else. Her 8 assists and 8 rebounds in the bronze medal game spoke volumes. She claimed a place in the Google All-Star Five and had us all wondering why nobody was talking about her before the event started.
Belgium - Kyara Linskens
Statistics: 16.0 EFF; 12.8 PPG; 7.7 RPG
Linskens had her best ever tournament with the Cats from the outset and was a real power in the paint and working great alongside Emma Meesseman. Once her teammate got injured during the event, Linskens took the weight of the responsibility as overall this was a terrific tournament all around for the center.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Nikolina Elez
Statistics: 10.2 EFF; 9.6 PPG; 4.8 RPG
It was a nightmare debut for Bosnia and Herzegovina as they not only went winless, but lost badly to both Puerto Rico and Korea who they had been anticipated to beat. Elez was arguably the only player on the roster who got near to her expected levels and for that reason alone, she was able to leave Sydney with her head held high.
Canada - Bridget Carleton
Statistics: 13.9 EFF; 12.8 PPG; 5.3 RPG; 2.0 APG
Carleton picked up where she left off in the Osaka Qualifying Tournament with another nice showing and even gaining Google All-Star Five honors for her efforts in Sydney. She was central to Canada making their first Semi-Finals since 1986 and was a factor from the wing in so many games with her offensive work and also getting praise from head coach Victor Lapena for her defensive efforts too.
China - Xu Han
Statistics: 17.6 EFF; 12.4 PPG; 1.8 BPG
The Semi-Finals display of the center against Australia was epic, with her five blocked shots equalling the record high for a game at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. In the past 12 months, Yueru Li has been favored a lot in terms of more minutes and playing in crunch time, but Han has really wrestled back the title of China's number one center and made the Google All-Star Five.
France - Gabby Williams
Statistics: 16.2 EFF; 15.8 PPG; 5.0 RPG; 3.2 APG
One of the biggest stories to come out of the competition was that Williams has assumed the role of unrivalled leader for France after a super individual tournament. Leading by example at both ends of the court. Her team has injury issues heading into the big tip-off but she helped to steady the ship in turbulent waters and take France to the Quarter-Finals - a solid showing in the circumstances.
Japan - Maki Takada
Statistics: 10.2 EFF; 9.4 PPG; 4.2 RPG
It was a tournament to forget for Japan as last year's Olympic silver medalists crashed out at the Group Phase with only a win against Mali to their name. The fact that Takada was top scorer with 9.4 points is astonishing in itself. Probably the most consistent player for her team, it will be of little consolation to be spoken about as her team's MVP after their shocking performances.
Korea - Leeseul Kang
Statistics: 13.2 EFF; 17.2 PPG
After losing their centerpiece Jisu Park before the tournament had started, Korea's aim was to be competitive and to at least win a game to break a losing streak stretching back 10 years. Kang helped them meet that target with a record-breaking efficiency performance in the victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mali - Sika Kone
Statistics: 14.8 EFF;12.0 PPG; 11.8 RPG
Even if Mali didn't manage to post a victory in Sydney, there were some really encouraging and positive elements, not least their star forward. Kone put up some big shows and not least her amazing 18 points and 18 rebounds against France which had everyone asking if she was assuming the label as the 'Best Player in Africa'. If not now, then in future years there is not likely to be any doubt about it.
Puerto Rico - Arella Guirantes
Statistics: 16.3 EFF; 18.2 PPG; 6.5 RPG; 3.5 APG
What an amazing first FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup this was for the guard who continued her super form from the Qualifying Tournament to inspire Puerto Rico to a historic first ever win on opening day as Guirantes claimed a near triple-double. She continued in that impressive mode throughout, propelling her country to their first ever Quarter-Finals and was their go-to baller throughout.
Serbia - Yvonne Anderson
Statistics: 16.0 EFF; 15.0 PPG; 6.5 APG
It was another very impressive display from Anderson at both ends of the court in this tournament as she pulled everything together for this new look Serbia team. Head coach Marina Maljkovic described her as one of the most humble players she had ever worked with and certainly Anderson never stopped working leading and contributing as her team locked down a Quarter-Finals place.
USA - A'Ja Wilson
Statistics: 24.5 EFF; 17.2 PPG; 7.5 RPG; 2.2 SPG
Deservedly crowned TISSOT MVP to lead the Google All-Star Five, Wilson arrived late for the event, but made up for lost time in a big way. She was a power on defense with those quick hands and physicality, while she was also largely unstoppable in the paint. A class act in every way.