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22 WWC Loyd vs PUR 092322_1440x650

USA Picks Up 106-42 World Cup Victory Over Puerto Rico

  • Author:
    Sarah Lounsbury, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 23, 2022

The United States won its 24th straight FIBA Women’s World Cup game, defeating Puerto Rico 106-42 on Friday in Sydney.

The Americans were swift up and down the court and seized every opportunity to gain possession of the ball, converting 21 turnovers into 28 points and limiting Puerto Rico to 20.6% shooting from the floor. Alyssa Thomas had six steals, one less than the USA tournament record.

“I think our ability to be active, all over the players, use our length, guard well from all positions whether posts are on guards or guards are on posts, that’s what seems to be coming along quickly,” said Jewell Loyd, one of six double-figure scorers with 12 points.

“Mostly with our chemistry is our defensive presence and ability to kind of read one another,” Loyd said. “We have players that love to work hard, love to be active and who try to get the ball back so we can play offense.”

Every player on the U.S. roster scored and each had at least one assist. Shakira Austin led the USA with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Kahleah Copper scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Brionna Jones scored 15 on 6-of-9 shooting, with nine rebounds and five assists. Breanna Stewart added 11 points and eight rebounds. Thomas contributed 11 points.

“Our biggest thing is moving the ball and finding the gaps,” said Loyd. “We trust everyone’s ability to make plays and shots so we just try to get everyone in the area to be successful. When we move the ball good things happen.”

Austin set herself apart by achieving her first double-double at an international showing.

“This was a fun game for her,” said USA coach Cheryl Reeve. “She’s been playing well, that’s why she made the national team and why she was given the opportunity to be able to play in the World Cup. She made the most of the opportunity and then certainly today the most of her minutes. This is a player who’s still learning but she learns on the fly and she plays hard. She's athletic, she’s long and she’s relentless.” 

Thomas’ six steals were one less than the 36-year-old USA tournament record of seven set by Cheryl Miller in 1986. 

“She’s just active and all over the place,” Stewart said of Thomas. “I think the way she’s playing the WNBA, she’s continuing that here in Australia. She had five steals in the first quarter, so she could’ve gotten that record. But she’s saving it (the record) for another game.”

Thomas’ defensive performance came at an appropriate time given that Arella Guirantes was named FIBA's Player of the Day for Thursday for her totals of 26 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Puerto Rico's victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Against the USA, and the added defensive work of Copper and Ariel Atkins, Guirantes was held to seven points on 2-of-12 shooting.  

“I love to disrupt and cause havoc,” said Thomas. “It’s fun playing on a team that loves to play defense and it really fuels our offense.”

The USA will be back in action against China on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Sydney time/12:30 a.m. ET.

Sarah Lounsbury is a contributor to USAB.com as part of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUI.

 

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