This time, it wasn’t as easy as the Aussies won a 2-point game in the semi-finals against the Netherlands and a 3-point thriller in the pool stage versus France. This said, event MVP Alice Kunek was on another level in Chengdu. The 28-year-old was the leading scorer with 46 points, 10 more than the second in the charts. She netted 11 points alone in the final. Her team-mate Rebecca Cole topped the key assists and drives categories and scored the winning basket in the final against Japan (21-15)
Japan were the big surprise in Chengdu. It’s not like the team came out of nowhere since Japan had just won bronze at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup a week earlier. This said, Mio Shinozaki was the only player left from that roster so it was difficult to know what to expect. After a difficult Day 1 where the team nearly finished last in its pool, Japan switched gear on Day 2 and took down 2 of the heavy favorites in European champions France (18-15) and the Chinese hosts (19-16). The speedy Shinozaki was key in Japan’s run (she finished 2nd in scoring) and got a little help from loooooong range specialist Naho Miyoshi, who represented Japan at the Rio 2016 Olympics.