A'Ja Wilson competes during the quarterfinals against Serbia at the 2022 FIBA Women's World Cup on Sept. 29, 2022, in Sydney.
Despite the 33-point win on Thursday against Serbia, the U.S. women’s basketball team had a shaky start. This time around in the semifinal, it made sure that wasn’t the case.
The U.S. opened the game by scoring the first 15 points. The Americans never looked back after that, as they didn’t trail once on their way to an 83-43 victory. The U.S. now has a chance to win its fourth consecutive FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup title.
Like the quarterfinal, turnovers held back the Americans early. They committed nine of their 17 turnovers in the first half. But solid defense, in large part due to A’Ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, made sure that Canada stayed behind.
Wilson finished the game with three steals and two blocks, to go along with her 15 points and 12 rebounds. Stewart was similarly strong defensively, finishing with three blocks and one steal. She also led the team with 17 points and four 3-pointers.
The U.S. carried their defense into the third quarter, allowing Canada to score only eight points while the U.S. continued to score. The 22 third-quarter points were capped off by a buzzer-beater from half court by Sabrina Ionescu, which extended the U.S. lead to 67-29.
Stifling defense by the U.S. was unprecedented, as it was the first time a team had allowed under 50 points in a World Cup semifinal.
The U.S. also spread out the scoring on the offensive end, as four players finished with 10 or more points.
The U.S. will now play China — playing in its first final in 28 years — in the gold-medal game on Saturday. The U.S. has eight players who will be playing for a World Cup gold medal for the first time. Stewart is playing for her third, while Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum and Wilson will be playing for their second.