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U.S. advances to gold-medal game

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U.S. advances to gold-medal game

SYDNEY — Breanna Stewart and the United States used a dominant defensive effort to beat Canada and reach the gold-medal game of the World Cup for the fourth consecutive tournament.

Stewart scored 17 points and the Americans raced out to an early lead to put away Canada 83-43 on Friday. The 43 points was the fewest scored in a semifinal game in World Cup history.

“Canada has been playing really well all tournament and the goal was just to come out there and really limit them,” said U.S. forward Alyssa Thomas. “We were really locked in from the jump with our game plan.”

The Americans will face China, which edged Australia 61-59. The Chinese team lost to the U.S. by 14 points in the pool round — the closest game of the tournament for the Americans.

“Our goal was to win a gold medal and we’re in a position to do that,” U.S. Coach Cheryl Reeve said.

The U.S. (7-0), which is on a record pace for points and margin of victory in the tournament, took control of the game early scoring the first 15 points. The Americans contested every shot on the defensive end as the Canadians missed their first nine attempts from the floor. On the offensive end, Stewart, A’ja Wilson and Thomas basically got any shot they wanted.

“I think after that punch, it really took the air out of them,” Thomas said. “They didn’t know what to do with their offense anymore after that.”

Laeticia Amihere, who plays at South Carolina for former U.S. Coach Dawn Staley, finally got Canada on the board nearly 5 minutes into the game by making a driving layup.

The Americans were up 45-21 at the half and the lead kept expanding in the final 20 minutes. The win was the biggest margin for the U.S. in the medal round, topping the 36-point victory over Spain in the 2010 World Cup.

Canada (5-2) advanced to the medal round for the first time since 1986 and has a chance to win its first medal since taking the bronze that year.

  photo  United States’ A’ja Wilson reaches up to intercept the ball during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup against Canada in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
 
 
  photo  Canada’s Nirra Fields takes a shot at goal as United States defenders watch during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
 
 
  photo  United States’ Brionna Jones, center, is fouled by Canada’s Bridget Carleton, right, during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
 
 
  photo  Canada’s Kia Nurse, left, covers the face of United States’ Chelsea Gray during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
 
 
  photo  United States’ A’ja Wilson, left, and United States’ Breanna Stewart reach for the ball during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup against Canada in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
 
 
  photo  Canada’s Phillipina Kyei, left, blocks United States’ A’ja Wilson during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
 
 
  photo  United States’ Breanna Stewart, center, shoots a free throw against Canada during their semifinal game at the women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
 
 

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