Puerto Rico is in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Basketball World Cup for the first time.
Maia Hollingshead signed on 29 points and Arela Guerentes added 18 as the Puerto Ricans beat South Korea 92-73 on the final day of the group stage on Tuesday.
Puerto Rico (2–3) scored the last 18 points of the game, 10 by Hollingshead, to take off at the end. The Caribbean Quintet took last place for the quarter-finals starting on Thursday.
“I put them all in,” Hollingshead said. “I looked up (on the scoreboard) and they still didn’t score.”
After the final buzzer sounded, Puerto Ricans began dancing on the court, celebrating their classification.
Also on Tuesday, the United States defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 121–59; China beat Belgium 81-55; Canada beat Mali 88-65; Serbia beat France 68-62; And Australia beat Japan 71-54.
The United States and Australia finished first of the two groups. China and Canada finished second. Belgium and Serbia finished third, while France and Puerto Rico finished fourth.
FIBA will draw a draw to define the cross in the direct elimination phase.
In addition to winning the tournament for the first time in the country’s history, Puerto Rican players and coaching staff were looking for a place in the quarterfinals to bring some joy to an island recently hit by Hurricane Fiona.
“We have made history, with everything the country is going through by storm. It is monumental and I hope it brings some happiness to the country. We just want basketball to bring some fun”, said Taira Melendez.
Puerto Ricans succumbed to their three matches at the 2018 World Cup, losing at an average of about 28 points. They also shouldn’t have been in Australia, but they found that place when Russia was kicked out after the Ukraine invasion.
“It’s of great importance given what’s going on on the island,” Hollingshead said. “What people are dealing with right now, we just came out to play for more than us. People are excited and excite us.”
Kelsey Plum scored 20 points and Chelsea Gray added 16 as the Americans set a national team record for consecutive World Cup wins.
It was the United States’ 27th consecutive World Cup victory. They have not lost since the 2006 semi-final against Russia. The Soviet Union holds the record with 56 consecutive victories between 1959-86.
The United States (5–0) won their group stage games by an average margin of 46.2 points. He has never been down on the scoreboard.
Mali (0–5) ended the tournament with a complete defeat at an average of 30 points per game.
FIBA has opened an investigation into a dispute between two Malian players in the mixed field after their loss to Serbia on Monday. The fight between fellow Salimatou Kourouma and Kamite Elisabeth Dabou occurred while they were traveling in the region and was filmed by the Serbian press.