Canada takes the lead at the World Cup ahead of France

Sydney — Nirra Fields scored 17 points and Shay Colley added 11 to help Canada beat France 59-45 in Friday’s Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The win put Canada (2-0) in the driver’s seat as the only undefeated team in their group.

“This is great for us,” Canadian guard Kia Nurse said. “Great momentum going forward. The first game against Serbia showed what we can do, a great team win. To do this again where everyone contributes is huge.”

In other games on Friday, the US defeated Puerto Rico 106-42; China beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 98-51; Serbia defeated Japan 69-64 and Belgium defeated South Korea 84-61. Australia routed Mali 118-58.

Canada led 20-17 in the second quarter with three minutes remaining before going through the half with a 17-0 run to take control of the game. Colley had the last six points of the sprint.

France were 20 points down at the start of the fourth quarter but used a 10-1 run to get back up to 11 but couldn’t get any closer.

Gabby Williams, who had 23 points in the opening win over Australia, finished on 13 points to lead France.

SERBIA 69, JAPAN 64

Jovana Nogic scored 13 points to lead five players into double figures for Serbia in a win over Japan.

Yvonne Anderson and Kristina Topuzovic each added 12 points for Serbia (1-1), who used a 24-9 in the first quarter to take an early lead.

Japan (1-1) fought back early in the fourth quarter to close to 58:52 on Stephanie Mawuli’s free throw before Nogic hit a jumper and Ivana Raca hit two free throws to restore a double-digit lead with 6:45 to go. Japan reduced their deficit to 67:62 with 33 seconds remaining, but Mawuli committed an offensive foul.

Anderson converted two free throws eight seconds later that sealed the win.

AUSTRALIA 118, MALI 58

Ezi Magbegor scored 15 points to lead seven players into double figures for Australia in Mali defeat.

The African nation took a 10-2 lead before coach Sandy Brondello added Lauren Jackson to the line-up. The Opals (1-1) then reeled off the next 17 points, including five from Jackson, to start a 33-2 run that opened the game.

Australia fell a point short of tying their highest score.

The game came on the 16th anniversary of the Opals’ lone gold medal when they defeated Russia in the final of the 2006 championship in Brazil.

Djeneba N’Diaye scored 15 goals for Mali, who are still keen to win their first World Cup competition since 2010.

CHINA 98, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 51

Han Xu scored 18 points and Li Meng added 17 to help China go unbeaten with a win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After a tight first quarter in which China (2-0) only led 26-21, the Asian nation took control with an 11-2 run to start the second. Han scored the final two points of the breakout. By the half, China turned 50-31.

The Chinese team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 48-20 in the second half.

Connecticut Sun star Jonquel Jones led Bosnia and Herzegovina with 17 points and nine rebounds. It’s her first time playing with the team at a World Cup. Jones said afterwards that she had a long journey from Connecticut to get to Australia after the WNBA Finals. She flew from Connecticut to Atlanta to Los Angeles to Fiji to Sydney.

“I’m tired, it was a lot of traveling after the championship was over,” she said.

UNITED STATES 106, PUERTO RICO 42

Shakira Austin scored 19 points, Kahleah Copper added 16 and the United States played a smothering defense to route Puerto Rico.

Alyssa Thomas added 11 points and six steals for the Americans (2-0) that forced Puerto Rico to 21 turnovers.

The USA took a 27-11 lead after a quarter as Thomas had 10 points and five steals in the first 10 minutes. The Americans denied nearly every shot Puerto Rico made and forced nine turnovers. In the second half, the USA kept up the pressure, keeping Puerto Rico without a point for most of the first five minutes of the period and leading 54-21 at halftime.

Mya Hollingshed led Puerto Rico (1-1) by 10 points.

BELGIUM 84, SOUTH KOREA 61

Hind Ben Abdelkader scored 17 points and Julie Vanloo added 14 to help Belgium win their first tournament and defeat South Korea.

Julie Allemand recorded 13 points and eight assists as the Belgian Cats (1-1) lost to the USA in their opening game.

Belgium led 9-8 at the start of the first quarter before ending the quarter on a 17-4 run. The Belgian Cats extended the lead to 20 at halftime and never looked back.

Leeseul Kang scored 11 points and led South Korea 0-2.

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