The three New York Liberty participants in the FIBA Women’s World Cup have each made big contributions to their respective teams’ success.
Thus far in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, the New York Liberty are undefeated.
With group play completed in the annual competition, held this season in Tenerife, Spain, the largest of the Canary Islands, the three members of the Liberty partaking in the tournament helped guide their teams to undefeated marks, each skipping straight to the quarterfinal round on Friday. The tournament will wrap up this weekend, with semifinals taking place on Saturday, and the championship, as well as the third place game, is set to be played on Sunday (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Here’s how the Liberty’s trio have performed in Tenerife:
— Andaz TV (@andaz_tv) September 24, 2018
Tina Charles (United States)
While there were some early hiccups, including an early deficit in the opening game against Senegal on Saturday, Charles and the Americans swept Group D play, winning each game by double figures. They are currently in the midst of a 21-game winning streak in the World Cup, their last defeat coming to Russia in the 2006 edition in Brazil. Charles was instrumental in the latest victories, her 13.3 points per game ranking third on the team. Among all participants, Charles ranks second in field goal percentage, at 60 percent, one of just two players to achieve that mark (Australia’s Liz Cambage leads the way at 72 percent).
In the Americans’ three games, Charles placed herself in the leaderboards, picking up a team-high six rebounds in each of the first two wins, over Senegal and China, while leading the team in scoring in Tuesday’s group play finale against Latvia, tallying 18 in the 102-76 victory.
“We are really happy with the result,” Charles said of the Latvia win in a team statement. “We wanted to come out and have a really good defensive effort, and I think we did that.”
The United States will play the winner of Wednesday’s Greece-Nigeria showdown in the quarterfinals.
“The next two days, I’m looking forward to this day off, be able to enjoy Tenerife,” Charles continued. “And then, we are going to get back to it in practice, and I look forward to whoever it is that we play, just getting to that goal that we want to accomplish.”
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) September 25, 2018
Kia Nurse (Canada)
After a successful rookie season in New York, Nurse continues to put the basketball world on notice.
One of two active WNBA players on the Canadian roster, Nurse got off to a bit of a slow start in the opening win over Greece, limited to 12 points after getting into foul trouble, but she recovered to score 29 points in a one-sided 82-63 win over Korea, the third-highest individual scoring effort in the World Cup thus far. After adding 18 in the Group A finale, a 71-60 win over France, Nurse was second among all athletes in points per game, again trailing only the dominant Cambage, with 19.7 points per game.
“Coming out of the quick turnaround that we had from last night to this morning, we came out with the right energy,” Nurse said in a Liberty team statement after the Korea win. “(We had) the right intensity and a focus that allowed us to get out early in transition and score a lot of points and defensively be disruptive.”
Trailing by as much as 15 in the finale against the French, Canada enjoyed a game-high 18 points from Nurse, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. Nurse, however, attributed the comeback victory to a team effort.
“Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Miranda Ayim, Nirra Fields, Natalie Achonwa, they all came up and gave us some really huge sparks on defense,” Nurse said. “That was a combination of steals, tips on passes, just guarding tough players one-on-one in tough matchups. I think that was something that translated to our great offensive push that we had, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Canada’s quarterfinal matchup will come against the winner of a play-in between Spain and Senegal.
Rebecca Allen (Australia)
Though Cambage has put on an epic MVP performance for the Opals, Allen has definitely done her part in helping them win Group B.
She currently ranks in the team’s top three of several major offensive categories, including points (9.0), rebounds (5.0), and assists (3.3). To cap off group play, Allen was one of four Opals in double-figures, finishing runner-up to Cambage with 13 points in a 90-64 win over Turkey.
In the quarterfinals, Allen and the Australians are set to play the winner of China and Japan.