By utilizing its athleticism to make it difficult for its opponents to score, the United States is quickly establishing a reputation for being an outstanding defensive team.
On Friday, the United States defeated Puerto Rico 106-42 in the FIBA Women’s World Cup. Shakira Austin had 19 points, Kahleah Copper added 16, and the United States played suffocating defense to earn the victory.
According to the head coach of the United States women’s national team, Cheryl Reeve, “We talk about being hard to play against every day, and getting deflections is a big part of that.”
The United States (2-0) made it difficult for Puerto Rico (0-2) to score by forcing the island to turn the ball over 21 times and contesting nearly every shot.
“It’s a lot of fun to play on a team that takes pride in their defensive play. Alyssa Thomas, who accounted for six of the Americans’ 13 steals, said that it provides a significant boost to the offense.
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Because Thomas had a strong start to the game, the United States team took an early lead after the first quarter, leading 27-11 thanks to his 10 points and five steals. In the first quarter, the Americans were responsible for nine turnovers.
In the second period, the United States continued to apply pressure, preventing Puerto Rico from scoring for nearly the first five minutes of the period. After a long scoring drought, Mya Hollingshed finally broke it by sinking a contested 3-pointer that put the team up 40-17. At the half, the Americans held a lead of 54-21. As a result of the United States continually increasing their lead, the second half contained very little suspense.
In Puerto Rico’s first game, a victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Americans were successful in guarding Arella Guirantes, who had a triple-double with 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. She was only able to muster seven points on two of twelve shooting attempts. Copper was the first of the four or five different defenders that the United States sent to confront her.
According to what Breanna Stewart said, “We like to be aggressive on both ends.” We are able to guard multiple positions and will do so to make things challenging for the opposing team. At the defensive end of the court, our activity and awareness of one another will go a long way toward helping us win the tournament.
Since falling to Russia in the World Cup semifinals in 2006, the United States has now won 24 consecutive games at this tournament. The Americans need two more victories to match their record 26-game winning streak that they set from 1998-2006.
Coming off of its first-ever victory in the World Cup, Puerto Rico had a record of 1-1. Hollingshed, who attended Colorado College and played basketball there, ended the game with 10 points.
Pamela Rosado, the captain of Puerto Rico’s team, stated that their primary objective is to continue their winning streak and that the United States of America is the most important team in the competition.
After attending the parade honoring the Las Vegas Aces’ first WNBA championship on Tuesday, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum flew all the way to Sydney to continue the celebration. They supported their teammates from the United States bench as they competed. It was anticipated that A’ja Wilson, the third member of the team that won the championship, would arrive in Sydney later on Friday.
According to what Reeve had to say, “We’ll get some time with them in the morning before we play against a really good China team tomorrow.” “The level of detail will come in handy.”
The United States reserves, led by Austin, outscored Puerto Rico’s reserves 47-21. Brionna Jones contributed 15 points and nine rebounds to the team’s total.
It wasn’t the lowest scoring total by an American opponent, despite the fact that the United States defense was very good. In 1953, Argentina finished with a total of 22 points… The Americans also failed to break the record for largest victory margin, which was set by the team that competed in 2014 and defeated Angola by a score of 119 to 44.
Additionally, Thomas did not break the United States record for most steals in a game, which was set by Cheryl Miller in 1986. In the match against Russia in 2002, Tamika Catchings scored six goals. Cuba’s Olga Gomez set the record for most goals scored in a World Cup match against France in 1994 with 10.