Who will make the Final? Check out our ultimate Semi-Finals preview and vote
SYDNEY (Australia) - It's crunch time at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney as the last four nations standing battle it out for the three podium steps on offer.
But who is going to make it to the title game? Here's everything you need to know about the Semi-Finals and you have the chance to vote below and let us know who is going to win each of these two huge games. You can also check out the full schedule and times of games HERE.
USA v Canada
Tournament Record: USA are a flawless 6-0 having now won 28 consecutive games in the competition, while Canada are a similarly impressive 5-1, with their only defeat being a close one against Australia in the Group Phase.
Head to Head: This is the 8th meeting between the teams in the competition, with USA having won 6 of those previous meetings. The last was in Czech Republic during 2010, when they completed an 87-46 success. Canada won their only game at the 1975 edition by 74-68.
Key Match Up: Alyssa Thomas is breathing fire for the USA and it will be fascinating to see how Canada try to stem that tide. Defensively she is a powerhouse and has been snapping up steals (best in the competition with 3.2 per game). She is also leading USA in rebounds and assists. Close to a triple-double on more than one occasion, it will be Bridget Carleton and Natalie Achonwa who will be chasing the hard running Thomas. And, Carleton herself is in good form and should be a major contributor for Canada in these last two games. But it will surely take a whole team to slow Thomas down.
Can Bridget Carleton slow down Alyssa Thomas - or will that role be taken by some else such as Kayla Alexander?
Number Crunching: Apart from rebounding, most of the numbers are heavily in USA's favour. They are killing it inside and sinking 55 points per game in the paint, as well as punishing errors with an eye-bulging 28.3 points off turnovers and 24.3 fast break points.
Did You Know?
- The USA will play their 10th FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Semi-Final, never failing to qualify for this stage since were introduced in 1986.
- The USA made 11 three-pointers against Serbia, equalling their best tally in a FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup game since 2006.
USA were making it rain from long-range in their Quarter-Finals game with Serbia
- Canada will play their second FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Semi-Final, after a 1986 defeat against the USA (82-59).
- Canada made only four turnovers in their Quarter-Finals game against Puerto Rico which was the lowest tally for a team in a FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup game over the last 30 years.
In Summary: As always, USA are massive favorites in this Semi-Finals contest and will be expected to advance to their sixth title game in seven editions. They have the depth, the defense and the scoring talent to continue their amazing winning streak. However, Canada seem to have found a new hard defensive edge of their own since Victor Lapena picked up the coaching reins. They are also a lot more physical and are playing as a team and with belief. They may feel now is the time to show their teeth and give USA their most challenging game of the competition.
Australia v China
Tournament Record: Both teams come into this Semi-Finals meeting with identical 5-1 records, with Australia having lost to France on opening night and China having dropped a game against the USA.
Head to Head: This is the 7th meeting between the teams, with both Australia and China having won three each. China won the first three, including twice in 1994 when the event was last hosted by Australia. The Opals beat China 83-42 in the Quarter-Finals at the 2018 edition. There was a much closer meeting at Tokyo 2020 when China scraped a 76-74 victory.
Key Match Ups: Nobody probably anticipated Opals' veteran center Marianna Tolo rising up quite as strongly in this tournament, but having come of the bench early in the competition, she now looks so important to the hosts. Her experience and level headed approach in the tricky moments has proven valuable - as has her strong shot selection and finishing. But most important of all, she is a good defensive matchup with China's towering Xu Han who has also been excelling. The two tallest ballers in Sydney are ready to duel!
The experienced Marianna Tolo has had a super tournament for the Opals and will likely guard China danger Xu Han
Number Crunching: China score 44 points per game in the paint compared to 30.7 for the Opals. Meanwhile China averages more than 16 fast-break points per game, with Australia managing only 4.0.
Did You Know?
- This Semi-Final is a repeat of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Semi-Final in 1994 which Australia also hosted. China won a thriller and heartbreaker for home fans 66-65.
- Australia have qualified for their seventh FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Semi-Final and this will be their sixth in the 21st century, only failing to reach this phase in 2010.
- Australia scored 86 points, the most for the Opals in an elimination game in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup since 2006, when they made 91 points against Russia in the Final.
Steph Talbot equalled the Opals' assists record against Belgium in the Quarter-Finals
- Steph Talbot dished out a total of 9 assists in the Quarter-Final against Belgium, a joint-high for any Opals player in the competition. Penny Taylor also had 9 assists against Turkey at the 2014 edition.
In Summary: Australia are exactly where they wanted to be from the outset, in a Semi-Final and having avoided the red-hot favorites USA. The game against China is a big challenge, but at least the Opals have the size to counteract China's usual height advantage over other teams. Much might hinge on the hosts being mentally strong enough to cope with the big moments in the game. China has improved tremendously and it both looks and feels like they are ready for that long-awaited medal. They too have to prove their resilience and mental toughness in the vital moments. Only one thing is certain, there will be a huge amount of support inside the Sydney Superdome for both nations!