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USA Advances to 2022 World Cup Semifinal with Win Over Serbia

  • Author:
    Sarah Lounsbury, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 29, 2022

The United States earned its 28th straight World Cup victory with an 88-55 quarterfinal win over Serbia in a physical game at the Sydney Superdome that tested both teams. Thursday’s win puts the USA into the semifinals as the team inches closer to competing for a 12th straight medal and potentially a fourth consecutive gold medal.

The USA (6-0) will meet Canada on Friday at 5 p.m. Sydney time/3 a.m. ET.

For the first time this week, the USA found itself behind. Serbia (3-3) led for 4:18, with two ties and seven lead changes. The USA eventually kicked into high gear with every player on the roster contributing at least two points.

“Serbia really tested us,” said Kelsey Plum, who led the USA with 17 points. “They played super physical, more physical than we've seen in the whole tournament. Credit to them, I felt like early on their pressure bothered us a little bit.”

Alyssa Thomas continued her streak of high-level play with 13 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Thomas has had 19 steals in the six games. She is the first player to record 10+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists for the USA in a World Cup game since Maya Moore had 17 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists vs. Serbia in 2014.

“She takes a lot of pressure off of us,” A’ja Wilson said of Thomas. “I think she's the glue of this team, the X-factor of this team, because that's her game and that's her style … We know exactly what (we're) gonna get out of Alyssa Thomas every single time and you need that. That's a sign of a great player.”

Wilson scored 15 points with eight rebounds – the third time she has had that many in each category -- and added two blocks.

The USA has averaged 104.0 points and has won by an average margin of 44.0.

With 2:59 to go in the second quarter, Kahleah Copper hit the floor and was eventually escorted off the court by medical staff. Copper was later taken into the locker room for evaluation and did not play the remainder of the game.

In Copper’s absence, the USA took care of business, scoring 20 unanswered points, a run that started right before Copper’s injury in the second quarter to the 5:15 mark in the third quarter.

“One goes down and you got to step up even more and play harder to fill that void,” said Thomas. 

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

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