Opals lose to China in basketball WC semi

Australia's Opals have bowed out of the race for gold at the women's basketball World Cup, falling to China 61-59 in a heart-breaking semifinal.

In circumstances eerily similar to the sides' clash at the Tokyo Olympics, China broke the deadlock with two free-throws in the dying seconds to win the game.

The Opals will rue a low shooting percentage from the field in Friday's semi-final and will now face Canada in a bid to secure the bronze medal.

Regardless of the result of Saturday's final, China will leave Sydney having recorded their equal-best result at a World Cup - they took silver in 1994 and have not finished on the podium since.

China were foul prone in the first quarter and unable to match Australia for rebounds but shot with superior accuracy.

Cayla George and Marianna Tolo both missed regulation lay-ups in the first quarter to set the tone for a wayward shooting performance across the board.

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