Team USA defeats Canada to reach FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup gold medal game

SYDNEY — Team USA weren’t happy with the way they played at times in Thursday’s 33-point win over a gutsy Serbia side in the 2022 FIBA ​​World Cup Quarter-Finals, regardless the final score.

But in Friday’s semi-final, the Americans left no doubt about the strength of their quest to claim their fourth straight World Cup championship, demolishing Canada 83-43 to advance to the medal game. gold Saturday at 2 a.m. ET. . They will face China – who beat Australia in the other semi-final 61-59 – in a rematch of their group stage encounter, which the United States won by 14.

Top-ranked USA scored the first 15 points in Friday’s game and never looked back, holding Canada – the No. 4 team in the FIBA ​​World Rankings – to a first quarter of seven points and an eight-point third period as well. like 22% shooting from the field.

The United States has now won 29 consecutive World Cup matches, dating back to the bronze medal match in 2006. The United States team has lost only one match in a major international competition (World Cup and Games Olympics) since 1994.

Playing in its second World Cup semi-final and first since 1986, Team Canada exceeded many expectations at this tournament, finishing second in Pool B after a ninth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics that prompted the team to separate from his former coach.

With Victor Lapeña now at the helm, the team found success defensively, but that intensity was not there from the start against the United States.

On Friday, the United States became the first team to hold an opponent within 50 points in the World Cup semi-finals and recorded the largest margin of victory (40) for this round of the event.

“I think we weren’t happy with the way we started yesterday against Serbia,” said reigning World Cup MVP Breanna Stewart. “There were times we played well, but there were a lot of times we didn’t, and we really made sure that was the point of attention today. is how we started the game, especially with our starters, that five, we wanted to make sure we set the tone for the whole game.”

Canada will face home team Australia for the bronze medal at 11 p.m. ET on Friday.

The United States held Canada scoreless on its first nine shots before the Canadians finally saw one go through the basket. Shakira Austin’s free throws put the United States up 27-7 late in the first quarter, and once the starters were reinserted into the game midway through the second, the United States moved on to top gear, entering at halftime 45-21.

The opening 20 minutes weren’t perfect for Team USA – they had nine turnovers – but their defense, which has been their hallmark this tournament, held steady to build their lead.

“I was very pleased with the attention to detail our team put into the scouting report. Canada had a great tournament,” said USA national team coach Cheryl Reeve. “I wanted them to make sure they understood what they just did and how difficult they made it for Canada to score the ball. And Canada are a very good defensive team, so it was a quality win for us. Our goal is to win a gold medal, and we are able to do that.”

A 22-8 third quarter, capped by a half-court uprising by Sabrina Ionescu, extended the USA lead to 67-29.

The United States three-headed monster of Stewart (17 points), A’ja Wilson (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Kelsey Plum (14 points) combined to beat Canada 46-43, while Alyssa Thomas added 10 points.

The new USA team returns to their usual spot in the gold medal game despite having eight players on their roster who have never played at a World Cup before. Five of its 12 players arrived in Sydney shortly after the WNBA Finals, with the three Las Vegas Aces champion players missing the first two games of the tournament.

“I mean, it’s not easy getting here,” Jewell Loyd said. “It might seem like that at times, but it’s really not easy for us to get to this point, and with a new team and new faces, that’s exciting.”

Two-way winger Kahleah Copper, who started several games in this tournament, missed the semifinals with a left hip injury she suffered in the quarterfinals. Reeve said there was “a chance” she would appear in court on Saturday and be considered questionable.

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