Mali make more U19 history with Semi-Finals berth, Australia halt Canada's charge
DEBRECEN (Hungary) - More history was made at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2021 as Mali became the first African side to advance to the Semi-Finals of the competition.
They are now one of four teams that remain in the hunt for the title as another exciting day unfolded to set up a thrilling finale of the tournament over the weekend.
Australia 72-61 Canada
Canada came close to claiming another big scalp at the U19 Women's World Cup, but Australia composed themselves to put together a clinical finish. The Gems clicked at the right time as they wiped out a 12-point deficit late in the third as a 29-12 final quarter gave them enough to advance.
Nyadiew Puoch top the game scoring charts with 25 points while Jade Melbourne added 20 points and 9 rebounds in the win. For Canada, they were unable to sustain their excellence through the second and third periods as their run came to an end, despite another double-double from Yvonne Ejim.
Russia 47-69 Mali
2019 was a magnificent year for Mali. Now, this could be massive in 2021. Mali is one win away from a first-ever medal for an African side at the event having surpassed their own best finish of two years ago with a scintillating display to inflict a first loss on 2017 winners, Russia.
"It feels great," Sika Kone declared post-game. "Before we arrived here, we had some complications and then lost our first game. That gave us the motivation to keep going and really show that we can do something.
"We were all excited to be here - we wanted to play well and we knew that we can do something in this tournament. We believe in ourselves, and Mali believes in us."
Sika Kone led the way once again with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but it was a truely collective effort and the emotions spilled out onto the court for jubilant scenes at the buzzer. Russia could not buy a score in the final period - going 0-of-15 from the field - with Mali taking full advantage to race clear for a memorable win.
AMAZING and HISTORIC work 🏀♀️🏀— @Basketmedia365 🏀♀️🏀 Paul Nilsen (@basketmedia365) August 13, 2021
Mali just made #FIBAU19 Semi-Finals after blowing out medal favorite Russia 69-47
No African nation EVER made podium. Now 1 win away from at least silver🥈
Incredible display! FLYING THE FLAG FOR AFRICA at youth events again
Hungary 78-71 Czech Republic
Hungary survived a late scare to come through another tense all-European encounter and reach the Semi-Finals. The Czech Republic applied pressure with a 6-0 burst within 15 seconds to make it a one-score game inside the final minute before Julia Boros hit a huge three for the hosts.
Boros finished with a team-high 23 points as Reka Dombai added 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, while Eszter Madar also posted a 17 point, 11 rebound double-double as the trio combined for 57 of their team's 78 points in the win.
USA 98-64 Spain
The United States continue to look a formidable force on their charge towards another title in Debrecen. The defending champions moved into the last four by brushing aside the challenge of Spain in a 34-point victory.
Six players were in double figures, led by 17 points from Caitlin Clark as the USA set up a showdown with hosts, Hungary, on Saturday. The USA scored 30 points in the first quarter to set the tone in another all-around team display.
9-16 Classification Round:
Chinese Taipei 42-111 Japan
Aoi Yamada came close to a triple-double with 12 points and 14 assists along with 8 rebounds as Japan eased to a dominant win over Chinese Taipei. Miyu Ogita top scored with 21 points as Japan started with a 42-point first quarter on their way to sailing past 100 points.
Italy 71-43 Brazil
Italy returned to winning ways as they brushed aside Brazil for a convincing success. Every one of the 11 Azzurri players that took to the court got onto the scoresheet as Italy held their opponents to just 12 points in the middle periods en route to their 28-point victory.
Argentina 39-64 France
France bounced back from Wednesday's Quarter-Final disappointment in style as they jumped out to a 22-2 start against Argentina. The gap reached 30 points by halftime, though the South American side won the second half 27-22 in a resilient response.
Egypt 63-62 Korea
Yara Hussein posted 20 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out as Egypt were able to hold on to secure their first win of the week in a nervy finish. In a low-scoring affair, Egypt made the first move with a 24-15 opening period, while Haeran Lee had 28 points in vain for Korea.
Player of the Day: Sika Kone (MLI)
Kone praised her teammates after their impressive win over Russia, but it was the power forward playing the key role by posting yet another double-double to help deliver history for Mali - and Africa. 19 points and 11 rebounds along with 2 assists for good measure to propel Mali to their fourth consecutive win and into a first-ever U19 Semi-Final with another chance at history over the weekend.
USA v Hungary
Australia v Mali
5-8 Classification Round:
Spain v Czech Republic
Canada v Russia
9-12 Classification Round:
Japan v Italy
Argentina v Egypt
13-16 Classification Round:
Chinese Taipei v Brazil
France v Korea