Marianna Tolo playing for the Opals.
Marianna Tolo playing for the Opals. Carlos Osorio

Opals qualify for World Cup by thrashing North Korea

BASKETBALL: The Opals have qualified for next year's women's basketball World Cup by reaching the semi-finals of the Asia Cup.

The Australian women maintained their unbeaten run at the tournament by thrashing North Korea 81-48 in the quarter-finals in India and will now face South Korea on Friday for a place in Saturday's final.

The top four teams at the Asia Cup gain automatic qualification for the World Cup in Spain next September.

US college star Alanna Smith led the way for the Opals against North Korea with 20 points and nine rebounds.

A strong first half set up the win, with Kelsey Griffin (nine points, six rebounds) and Marianna Tolo (four points, six boards) dominating early.

Steph Blicavs (11 points, two assists) and her sister-in-law Sara Blicavs (13 points, five boards, three steals) were also solid contributors.

Friday's semi-final will be the second time Australia has played South Korea in the tournament after beating it by 24 points on the opening night.