By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Author
SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson admitted she was drained.
The WNBA MVP had simply gotten to Australia lower than 24 hours in the past, recent off a championship and the U.S. was taking part in its hardest opponent of the World Cup.
After a sluggish begin, Wilson was clutch within the fourth quarter, ending with 20 factors to assist the U.S. beat China 77-63 on Saturday.
“I do not understand how I am doing it,” Wilson mentioned. “You simply put issues apart. … It is like driving a motorbike. I’m exhausted, I am not going to lie about it.”
The U.S. now has gained 25 consecutive World Cup video games since shedding within the 2006 semifinals to Russia. The People superior to the quarterfinals and are one away from matching their report 26-game run from 1998-2006.
These two groups got here into the sport unbeaten within the match. The U.S. (3-0) led 25-20 with 6:23 left within the first half earlier than outscoring China 19-5 the remainder of the second quarter, together with the ultimate 13 factors. Alyssa Thomas and Breanna Stewart mixed for seven of the 13 factors through the game-changing burst.
Wilson closed the half with a putback that made it 44-25. She and Las Vegas teammates Chelsea Grey and Kelsey Plum had been taking part in of their first recreation since attending to Australia within the final day. The trio had been in Las Vegas celebrating the franchise’s first WNBA championship earlier than arriving in Sydney.
The U.S. led 56-40 with 2:18 left within the third earlier than China scored the ultimate seven factors of the interval to get inside 9. The Aces trio scored the primary 9 factors of the fourth quarter to make it a 16-point recreation once more.
“They put me in the perfect place to attain the basketball,” Wilson mentioned of her teammates discovering her within the fourth quarter.
China although would not go away. Trailing 67-51, Li Meng scored 4 factors in a 9-0 burst to get her workforce to 69-60 with 2 minutes left.
Wilson ended the drought with two free throws and a reverse layup to seal the win.
Li completed with 21 factors to steer China (2-1).
China had cruised to wins in its first two video games, routing each South Korea and Bosnia and Herzegovina by a mean of 55 factors. The Chinese language workforce hadn’t confronted a protection just like the U.S. which had been stable in its first two video games.
There was an enormous pro-Chinese language crowd of roughly 9,400 followers for the sport, together with Corridor of Famer Yao Ming, who’s the chairman of the Chinese language Basketball Affiliation. He was proven on the video board and obtained an enormous ovation from the group.
“The China fan base whether or not it was the native fan base right here or they got here from overseas, was simply great,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve mentioned. Their assist made a enjoyable setting. I heard some USA individuals. That is what you need.”
Plum went to the foul line at one level within the second half and the followers had been booing her. She smirked at it and calmly sank each free throws.
“I heard the noise. I do not assume I have been booed in a very long time,” Plum mentioned laughing. “I do not assume Connecticut (followers) even booed me.”
Plum and Grey each mentioned they received Wi-Fi on the lengthy flight from the U.S. to Australia to check the U.S. playbook.
In different video games Saturday, Belgium performed Puerto Rico and South Korea confronted Bosnia and Herzegovina.
China: Faces Puerto Rico on Monday.
U.S.: Performs South Korea on Monday.
Extra AP ladies’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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