USA coach Cheryl Reeve praises WNBA stars after first win

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She also praised Thomas and center Brionna Jones for playing important minutes without practice time.

“It’s like having to go from your WNBA team to Team USA and do it in seconds,” Stewart said. “You don’t get those feelings after your season is over, so I really appreciate that AT and Bri came here as soon as possible and what they did today. They were productive.

“That’s what we’re used to. For our overseas teams, for the WNBA and the United States – it’s our schedule and our career, it’s a constant grind, but we just put on the next jersey and carry on.

Reeve hopes to have his full side as soon as possible.

“We have a group, similar to Alyssa and Brianna in that they’ll come in here in the morning and figure out what shape they’re in,” Reeve said of his Aces players.

“When they get here, we will integrate them. Otherwise, we are happy with what we are doing.

Team USA’s Sabrina Ionescu puts pressure on Belgium’s Maxuella Lisowa Mbaka.Credit:Getty Images

Puerto Rico was tipped by several judges to struggle to win a game at this year’s event, but the island nation caused a big shock on Thursday by beating Bosnia and Herzegovina 82-58.

Canada showed they will be a team to beat in the Australia group with a 67-60 victory over Serbia, the fourth-placed team at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Opals take on France at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Melbourne United have pledged to support NBA draft hopeful Ariel Hukporti as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The Germany international dreamed of making the 2023 NBA draft and has shaped up as a potential first-round pick with several NBA teams following his progress at United, where he was expected to start at center this season.

Instead, Hukporti landed awkwardly on his foot and injured himself in the club’s NBL Blitz match against Perth on Wednesday night and it soon became apparent just how serious his injury was.

United have some experience with the injury as striker Jack White completed his recovery from rupturing his Achilles and moved to the NBA in the offseason after a good season with the team.

“We are hurting as a club because of the love we have for Ariel and all he means to us, not just as an athlete, but as a great person,” the coach said. of United, Dean Vickerman.

“We will be there for him every step of the way through the recovery process and will fully support Ariel with whatever he needs through rehab.”

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