Sports

The United States reached at least the semi-finals of the 12th consecutive World Cup.

Alyssa Thomas of the United States passes Jovana Nogic of Serbia to score a field goal in the quarter-final of the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, September 29, 2022 (AP Photo / Mark Baker) Press association

SYDNEY (AP) – Alyssa Thomas and her US teammates were tested for the first time in the World Cup by a Serbian physical team.

After a slow start, the Americans used a dominant half-run to take control of the game and reach the semi-finals again.

Thomas scored 13 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, thanks to which the Americans defeated Serbia 88-55 in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup on Thursday.

“I think you expect each team’s best shot in the first quarter,” said Thomas. “We just had to acclimate to the game, and once we got acclimatized, we were really able to break away.”

Kelsey Plum scored 17 points and A’ja Wilson added 15 to lead the Americans (6-0), who will face Canada in the semi-finals on Friday.

“They played super physically, more physically than we’ve seen throughout the tournament,” said Plum. Thank them. I felt that their pressure was a bit troubling at first, but we were able to contain it. “

The Americans passed the pot game, winning 46.2 points per game, and faced no challenge. Serbia (3-2) was not afraid, however, defeating the USA. The Serbs scored the first basket of the match, which meant that the Americans lost the tournament for the first time.

It was back and forth for the first 17 minutes, and the United States did not reach any major gear. Then, with 2:59 left to finish and the United States passed by five, Kahleah Copper fell into the basket and was fouled. She landed hard on her hip and the American coaching staff had to help her out of the field. Copper, who was the spark plug for the United States in its first tournament, has not returned.

“Too early to tell,” Reeve said about the severity of Copper’s injuries. “We’ll arrange for her imaging, and we’ll get the information later.”

Plum replaced Copper and hit two free kicks starting the series 12-0 to close the half when the Americans were leading 50-33 at half-time. Thomas had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in the first 20 minutes.

The United States extended its streak to 20 points in a row in the third quarter before Serbia finally ended a nearly 8 and a half minute drought for 3 points by Yvonne Anderson. This brought the deficit down to 22 points. Serbia did not come very close after that.

Anderson led Serbia with 14 points.

Betnijah Laney fell heavily at the start of the fourth quarter after a rebound. She left the game and sat on the bench until the end of the game.

“She fell hard,” Reeve said. “Later she was in the locker room and I think it was a bit more for her, it took her away from the wind.”

The victory was the 28th consecutive victory in the World Cup for the Americans who have not lost to Russia since the 2006 semi-finals. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 consecutive victories between 1959-86.

After undefeating the pot again, the United States reached at least the semi-finals in their 12th consecutive tournament, dating back to 1975. This year ended a series in which the Americans lost 14 matches in four tournaments. They have only lost five games since then.

PICASSO HAS NOT BEEN

Even without Brittney Griner, the United States dominated the competition, ahead of their rivals by an average of 60.8-24.4 in group play. Serbia had a 20-16 lead in the half and eventually beat the Americans 28-26 in the game, having two or three players in the middle to clog the middle.

“It’s one of those things you have to live with,” Wilson said. “Hopefully in the next few games we’ll get back to having paint. Serbia has done an excellent job blocking it.

TRIPLE WATCH

Thomas, who had a triple-double in each of the last two matches of the WNBA Finals, again missed his first World Cup goal since Erika Dobrovicova in 1994 for Slovakia against Spain. Assists and rebounds were not held until 1994. Thomas had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the opening game against Belgium.

TIP

Jewell Loyd returned to the US starting squad after a rest, according to the team. She had eight points.

SCORE BOARD

The remaining quarter-final matches on Wednesday were: Canada-Puerto Rico; China-France and Australia-Belgium.

IN THE FUTURE

Serbia: The tournament is over.

US: Play in the semi-finals on Friday.

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