US women’s basketball team scores historic victory at FIBA ​​World Cup

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There has been a long legacy of success for the US women’s basketball team at the World Cup.

The names change over time, but the results do not.

Kelsey Plum scored 20 points, Chelsea Gray added 16 and the United States routed Bosnia and Herzegovina 121-59 on Tuesday to tie the team record for consecutive World Cup wins.

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USA's Breanna Stewart waves to the crowd after their win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in their match at the women's basketball world championship in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

USA’s Breanna Stewart waves to the crowd after their win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in their match at the women’s basketball world championship in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The win was the 27th straight in World Cup play for the Americans, who have not lost since the 2006 semifinal against Russia. The US won 26 straight from 1994-2006 leading up to that game. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 consecutive victories from 1959-86.

“It’s kind of amazing,” said Breanna Stewart, who has been a part of the past three World Cup teams. “Obviously I’ve been here for some of that, but you understand the legends before that really started the streak. It shows that no matter who plays on USA Basketball, we’re always trying to chase excellence.

“This streak doesn’t mean much right now because we’re going into the quarterfinals and focusing on winning a gold medal, but it’s something to hang your hat on later.”

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed on to Stewart and A’ja Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t show up will soon end.

“Players are changing and you know there was a lot of concern about who’s next,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was a concern when Dawn Staley and Lisa Leslie played and who was going to be next. Then it was Sue and (Taurasi) and then other big players as well. Now with this group they’re saying, hey, we’re right too well.”

After going undefeated in pool play again, the USA has not lost a game before the semifinals since 1983.

“We know the responsibility when you put this jersey on. There’s a lot more than yourself,” Plum said. “Everyone puts pride aside. We have a common goal. We have some great players on this team.”

USA's A'ja Wilson runs to shoot during their women's basketball world championship game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

USA’s A’ja Wilson runs to shoot during their women’s basketball world championship game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

BRITTNEY GRINER WATCHES TIGHT ON TEAM USA AS FIBA ​​WOMEN’S WORLD CUP BEGINS

The Americans (5-0) won their pool games by an average of 46.2 points and never trailed in anyone. They face Serbia in the quarter-finals on Thursday. In other quarterfinal matches, Puerto Rico will face Canada; China plays France and Australia takes on Belgium.

The U.S. was coming off a record-breaking run in South Korea, in which the team broke the World Cup record for points with 145. While the Americans didn’t match that number, they put the game out of reach in the first 10 minutes and surged. 33-15.

The lead ballooned to 63-31 at halftime. Bosnia and Herzegovina put together a small run to start the third quarter, but the USA scored the final 19 points of the period.

Once again, they used a dominant interior performance, outscoring Bosnia and Herzegovina 84-28 in the paint led by Wilson, Stewart and Brionna Jones.

“It’s a big part of our identity,” Reeve said. “Regardless of what we had yesterday and 84 today, we just know what we’re good at and we’ve got players who really understand their options for that.”

The United States was missing Jewell Loyd, who the team said was rested. Kahleah Copper started in her place and finished with 11 points.

USA's Alyssa Thomas prepares to shoot as Bosnia and Herzegovina's Milica Deura looks on during their match at the women's basketball world championship in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

USA’s Alyssa Thomas prepares to shoot as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Milica Deura looks on during their match at the women’s basketball world championship in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Nikolina Elez scored 19 points to lead the Bosnians (0-5), who were playing in their first World Cup.

Scoreboard

In other games Tuesday, Puerto Rico topped South Korea 92-73; China beat Belgium 81-55; Canada topped Mali 88-65; Serbia outlasted France 68-62. Australia defeated Japan 71-54.

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NEXT

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The tournament is over.

USA: Plays Serbia in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

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