USA Sets FIBA, U.S. Records with 145-69 World Cup Win Over Korea
Just a few days after the 2022 FIBA Women's World Cup began for a USA team transitioning to a new generation, the unit produced one of the most overwhelming offensive displays in tournament history. Not only is the U.S. now 4-0 following their 145-69 win over Korea, they also set a FIBA record for most points scored in a World Cup game, edging the previous record of 143 scored by Brazil in 1990. The previous USA tournament high was 119, most recently in 2014 against Angola.
The Group A victory over Korea (1-3) also featured USA World Cup highs with 62 field goals, surpassing the total of 47 against Korea in 1994, and 36 assists, replacing the previous record of 32, which has been done twice, most recently against Angola in 2014.
“It was huge, it was huge,” said A’ja Wilson, who scored 20 points and added eight assists. “I think everyone scored and that’s the beauty of it. It comes from everyone, from one to 12. It involves all of us. And I think now because we have a complete team it feels a lot better as well and we’re starting to mesh, we’re starting to click. But this is huge, I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a team that can score the basketball like this crazy and put up 145 points.”
For their first three games the USA's calling card had been its defense. Through four games, including today’s, the USA has forced 85 turnovers and has scored 116 points off of those giveaways. Additionally, the team has only allowed an average of 61.5 points per game and opponents are only shooting an average of 37.3% from the field through the first four games.
The defense has also led to offense. In addition to the points scored off turnovers, the USA has 88 fastbreak points through the first four games due to its half-court defense. Opponents have been shut down in the paint, as the USA has allowed 94 points close to the basket while scoring 220.
The effort has been impressive by a team that finally had a complete roster on the floor just two days ago. Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum joined the team for their game against Puerto Rico on Saturday in Sydney after celebrating their WNBA championship with the Las Vegas Aces. With the whole crew now together, the expectations are high and the possibilities are endless.
“I think when you look at us and just knowing how talented we are but also we just come together, we play together very, very well,” said Wilson. "And we’ve only been together for maybe a week, a couple days. So, it speaks volumes to where this team is going. But right now I think we’re really in a good place.”
Against Korea, eight players reached double-digits in points. Brionna Jones scored 24 points (12-14 FG). Breanna Stewart scored 18 points. Plum, who scored 19, hit three of 10 3-pointers made by the team. For Kahleah Copper, a newcomer to the World Cup team who scored 11 points, it is a sign of the team’s continued, evolving chemistry.
“I think the chemistry has been good,” Copper said. “For us to have put everybody together, kind of last minute, some people just jumping in, I think that we’ve looked really good. For us to just be thrown together, it’s important for us to keep growing together, keep trying to figure it out.”
The USA has won 26 straight World Cup games, tying its streak from 1994-2006. The tournament record for consecutive victories is 56, set by the Soviet Union from 1959-1986.
The USA will conclude Group A play against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Sydney time/12:00 a.m. ET on ESPNU.
Owen Kaelble is a contributor to USAB.com as part of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUI.