In the battle of the Americas, the United States found themselves victorious in the semi-finals of the FIBA Women's World Cup. They defeated Canada by a score of 83-43 en route to the gold medal game.
Once the ball was tossed, it was the Americans who set the tone. Canada won the tip but that didn't stop the USA's defense from gearing up quickly. Breanna Stewart came up with a block on a midrange jumper. It took two minutes but the US quickly got on the board with a layup by Alyssa Thomas. From then on, it was all USA.
The Americans went on an emphatic 12-0 run before Canada called a timeout. Stewart hit a corner three, Thomas, Chelsea Gray and A'ja Wilson converted some layups which deemed too much for the Canadians.
After the timeout, the USA didn't take their feet off the gas pedal. Stewart had another block and Jewel Loyd hit a floater. Finally, Canada got themselves on the board courtesy of a layup from Laeticia Amihere. Canada was unable to stop the bleeding throughout the rest of the first quarter and the US led them 27-7.
When the tides turned.
The second quarter was where Canada started to get some traction under their feet. They crashed the boards more efficiently and were gathering themselves when they missed. Sure Shakira Austin would end up blocking two and Ariel Atkins swatted one away between Austin's blocks but Canada fought hard to get the ball back.
Defensively, Canada started to show up. Oregon sophomore, Phillipina Kyei used her length and 6'8 frame to block Austin's layup attempt. Shortly after, Bridget Carleton came up with a steal but wasn't able to drain the three on the other end.
Throughout the rest of the second, both teams brought it defensively. The Americans were scoring like usual even if it was slowed down a bit due to Canada ramping up their energy. For the last 1:55, both teams went cold due to great defense. The USA went into the half leading Canada 45-21.
The second half.
The second half was pretty much the same old same old. The USA came out running with a Stewart three followed by a Loyd layup. It took a bit for any team to score again but of course, it was Stewart who drained another three with ease and then a two on the next possession. It was the Breanna Stewart show and we were all witnesses.
Flash forward to the absolute last possession of the third quarter. Sabrina Ionescu grabbed the rebound after Aislinn Konig missed a three pointer with six seconds left. Ionescu had enough time to dribble across the timeline and chuck up a prayer. She drained the three at the third quarter buzzer like it's her daily routine.
Heading into the fourth quarter, USA led Canada 67-29.
The fourth quarter was pretty slow. Both squads utilized their bench for the bulk of the quarter to give them some minutes. When it's a blow out game and a sure win for the United States, keeping starters out was the best decision.
As it wasn't the most eventful quarter for either team, the points were pretty much the same. The USA outscored Canada 16-14. Ariel Atkins started the fourth quarter with a layup and Kelsey Plum showed off her quick hands with a steal. There was a dry spell on offense for the Americans until Brionna Jones hit a layup and converted the and-one.
The United States defeated Canada by 40 points, 83-43, en route to the gold medal game. They will face off against either China or host country Australia.