Breakout performers in Bangkok from every FIBA region
BANGKOK (Thailand) - The dust has settled on the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2019 and a number of players put themselves in the spotlight with some breakout displays.
Here is a selection of players from each of the FIBA qualifying regions who put themselves onto the radar and have every chance of being promoted to senior tournaments in the coming years.
Maxuella Lisowa-Mbaka - Belgium
For avid followers of the youth game in Europe it was no surprise that the Belgian ace announced her arrival on the global stage in such a big way. She has already made excellent contributions at European youth events previously. What was so impressive about her performances on her U19 Women's World Cup debut is that she was one of the youngest members of the Belgian team and yet took it to the USA like a veteran in that excellent Semi-Finals contest when she finished with 21 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Dynamic, confident and highly-skilled, she showed that Belgium were not all about All-Star Five member Billie Massey. She was the leader for Belgium in steals, second in points. assists, efficiency and even top three for rebounding.
Chanaya Pinto - Mozambique
Pinto was the ceterpiece of Mozambique making history by taking their first ever win on their U19 Women's World Cup debut as they beat Thailand on the opening day, before signing off on the last day of the competition by completing a win-double against the hosts. The forward was terrific throughout the tournament and almost helped Mozambique to record what would have been a monumental victory over Canada as they only just fell short by a single bucket. Her strength, athleticism and scoring ability were on show constantly and she averaged some excellent numbers.
She was the leader for Mozambique in points and rebounds, averaging a near tournament double-double of 14.9 points and 9.3 boards. She also led in assists with 2.3 per game, efficiency and steals too. In fact her 3.1 steals per game was the third best of the whole competition. She certainly showed why she has been making positive waves in the Portuguese League with Lombos Quinta.
Mingling Chen - China
There was nothing flash or particularly outstanding about Chen, since the simple truth is that she is a player who has a beautifully efficient and simplistic approach. Perhaps one for those who love the 'old school' style, the forward combines her positioning, nose for finishing, hard work off the ball and defense to super effect. She is such a rock and even if the senior China team is blessed with so many existing young talents such as Xu Han of the WNBA and Li Yueru, then Chen could be a great option as a back-up player moving forward. That cool head and great fundamentals were essential in China taking a deserved 5th place in Bangkok. She was just so efficient and it was her shot selection that impressed me most. Nothing looked forced and it resulted in her leading the competition in field goal shooting with an outstanding 59.1 percent from the field. Averaging 12.7 points, she led China on the glass with 7.9 rebounds per game and was in the top five in the competition for efficiency.
Yuliany Paz - Colombia
Unlike some of her teammates such as Mayra Caicedo and Maria Alvarez who had starred for Colombia last year at the FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup, Paz arrived in Bangkok without huge expectations. Even during the U18 Americas Qualifying last year, she did not have a huge impact. However, in the last 12 months it is clear her game has accelerated massively and her physical strength, power and rebounding prowess in particular was outstanding. She was the standout player for her country as they didn't only make history with that first ever win in the landmark contest against 2018 European U18 champions Germany, but carried Colombia to what ended up as three victories. Paz averaged 9.4 points and 8 rebounds per game in the Thai capital which might not seem earth-shattering, but she did so shooting the ball way better than any of the other players in the starting five - even if she started out 1 of 8 against Spain. Paz blocked and contested shots, scored regularly and gave Colombia a presence inside. Without this, they may not have won any games at all.