Puerto Rico defeated New Zealand 69-67 in an exciting match in China and achieved the long-awaited tickets to Paris 2024.

Puerto Rico’s women’s basketball team qualified this Saturday for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after defeating New Zealand 69-67 in the pre-Olympic tournament being held in the city of Xian, China.

After coming off a 88-40 defeat against France, Puerto Rico was able to recover and face down a new challenge with the determination that characterizes the Caribbean island’s team.

To earn qualification to Paris, Puerto Rico had to beat New Zealand and China had to lose by any score against the French team.

In the first game, the China was unable to defeat France in a 82-50 showing in front of their home fans, giving Puerto Rico a golden opportunity. With a victory they secured qualification.

The Puerto Rican quintet put on an exciting performance throughout the game with great showings from their players. Mya Hollingshed was the leading scorer with 20 points in addition to 14 rebounds. Arella Guirantes and Jacqueline Benitez also scored 13 points each.

This victory secures the second Olympic appearance for Puerto Rico’s women’s basketball team. Their first qualification in history booked them a spot at Tokyo 2020 where they finished in 12th place at the Games.

“We came to this tournament to qualify for the Olympics and we knew from the beginning that this game had opportunities to win. This is big for Puerto Rico, a small island with just over three million inhabitants. We are far from those teams like China and France, but we are trying to improve for the future,” said Jerry Bastista, coach of Puerto Rico’s team.

This Sunday, Puerto Rico will face China to conclude the pre-Olympic tournament. With each team already securing qualification to Paris 2024, it will serve only as a friendly exhibition with both teams seeking to gain momentum heading into the Olympic Games this July and August.