Sydney, Australia – Brianna Stewart and the United States used a dominant defensive effort to beat Canada and reach the World Cup gold-medal match for their fourth consecutive tournament.
Stewart scored 17 points and the Americans raced into an early lead to snuff out Canada’s 83-43 victory on Friday. The 43 points were the lowest number scored in a semi-final match in World Cup history.
“Canada have been playing really well in all the tournaments and the goal was to get out there and really limit it,” said American striker Alyssa Thomas. “We were really locked out of the jump with our game plan.”
The Americans will face China for the gold medal, while Canada will face Australia for the bronze.
China beat the hosts Australia 61-59 in the other semi-final match.
“Our goal was to win a gold medal and we are in a position to do so,” said US coach Sheryl Reeve.
The American team (7-0), which records a record pace of points and a margin of victory in the tournament, dominated the match early by scoring the first 15 points. The Americans fought every shot on the defensive side as the Canadians missed their first nine attempts from the field. At the end of the attack, Stewart, Aja Wilson, and Alyssa Thomas got basically any bullet they wanted.
“I think after that punch, he took the air out of them,” Thomas said. “They don’t know what to do with their crimes after that.”
Leticia Amiher, who plays in South Carolina for former US coach Don Staley, finally made it to Canada on the board about 5 minutes into the game by throwing the ball. Ameher led Canada by eight points, while Kia Norse led by seven points.
By the end of the quarter, the US was up 27-7. Canada posted four turnovers – the same number the team had against Puerto Rico in the quarter-finals and which was the lowest total in a game in 30 years.
The Americans took a 45-21 lead in the inning, and the lead continued to expand in the last 20 minutes. The victory was the largest difference for the United States in the medal stage, as it outperformed Spain by 36 points in the 2010 World Cup.
“Obviously we’re out to fight,” said Canadian Filipina Keay, who scored three blocks. “Unfortunately we lost, but we did everything we could and hopefully we can play in the next game for a medal.”
Canada (5-2) advanced to the medal round for the first time since 1986 and has a chance of winning its first medal since taking bronze that year.
“We didn’t get it done today, but what we’re going to do is take that with what we learned today and how we can change it tomorrow. It’s still a match for a medal. And it’s just as important to us,” Canada captain Natalie Achunwa said.
The United States has won seven of Canada’s eight World Cup encounters, although the most recent was in 2010. Canada’s only win came in 1975.
“(USA) played really well from the start of the match. When you play against the USA in the semi-finals, you are obviously perfect or they will break the game in 10 or 15 minutes,” said Canada President Victor Lapina. “I am very happy.” experience with this type of player. , especially young players, such as Filipina. Filipina is 18, so to give them that experience in the World Cup to play against the United States, to feel on the field, what [it] It means to play against these great players, to get experience for the future [is great]. ”
This victory is the 29th consecutive World Cup for Americans who have not lost since the 2006 semi-final against Russia. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 consecutive wins from 1959 to 1986. This is only the second time in the acclaimed history of Americans that they reach four consecutive gold medal competitions. They also did it from 1979-90 and won three times.
This American team, which has many new faces to it, is on pace to break several team records that include scoring margin and points per game. The Americans also continued to dominate the paint even without the 6-foot-8 Britney Grenier, outperforming her opponents by averaging 55-24.
The 43 points allowed were the lowest in a semi-final match, breaking the 53 mark South Korea scored against Russia in 2002. The US averages 101 points per game. The team’s all-time best mark in the tournament was 99.1 in 1994.
Cuper sat down after injuring her left thigh in the quarter-final win over Serbia. Brass landed hard on her hip as she led to the basket and had to be helped off the court. She hopes to play on Saturday. Petnja Lani, who was also injured in the Serbia match, played against Canada.
Canada vs Australia, Bronze Medal Match on Friday, 11pm ET.
US vs. China, Gold Medal Match on Saturday, 2AM ET
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