Team USA won the first quarter 27-7 vs. Canada Friday in its semifinal match in Sydney and went on to win more comfortably than it did in the quarterfinals against Serbia. The final score was 83-43; A’ja Wilson had 15 points and 12 rebounds while Breanna Stewart had 17 and eight. Wilson added three steals and two blocks and Stewart dished out three assists to go along with three rejections.
The U.S.’s minutes were spread out with Kelsey Plum (14 points) playing the most (23:59) and everyone who saw action playing at least 11:58. Kahleah Copper was the only American who did not play.
Alyssa Thomas followed up her phenomenal quarterfinal performance by rounding out the double-figure scorers for Team USA with 10 points. Brionna Jones added eight boards and Chelsea Gray added eight helpers.
Stewart’s 4-of-5 effort from deep was huge on a day where only Plum (1-of-4) joined her with more than two attempts. Sabrina Ionescu was 1-of-2 and the Americans finished 6-of-14 as a team. Thomas was 5-of-5 from the field and Wilson was 7-of-7 at the line. The U.S. was an impressive 15-of-17 from the stripe overall, but not incredibly dominant from the field (48.4 percent). Canada, however, shot a frigid 21.9 percent.
The Canadians’ 12 more attempts from beyond the arc didn’t pay off as they made just four treys. They also attempted nine less free throws and were outrebounded 53-37.
University of South Carolina senior Laeticia Amihere led Canada with eight points while Minnesota Lynx forward Bridget Carleton was good for six points, five boards, two steals and two blocks.
The U.S. won the second quarter 18-14, the third 22-8 and the fourth 16-14.
China 61, Australia 59
Siyu Wang made 2-of-2 free throws with three seconds left to give China the two-point margin it won by.
Seattle Storm center Ezi Magbegor missed a driving layup to tie at the buzzer.
Kudos to @ezimagbegor for answering questions in the mix zone for 10 minutes after the game. I’ve covered a lot of these and sadly many times the losing team players don’t want to talk when they walk through the mix zone refusing to stop.
— Doug Feinberg (@DougFeinberg) September 30, 2022
It was a really tight fourth quarter with China by five being the largest lead. The Chinese were down 59-57 with 1:52 to go, but a Wang steal with 53 ticks remaining led to a Sijing Huang layup off a Liwei Yang assist in transition that tied it up.
China’s one player who is a key contributor on a WNBA team, Xu Han, was spectacular with 19 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and five blocks. She was 8-of-10 from the field. Meanwhile, Yang (2-of-2 from distance) finished with 18 points, four assists and two steals and Wang added 14 points.
Han’s New York Liberty teammate Samantha Whitcomb made three triples for Australia but missed seven. She finished with a team-high 15 points, while Seattle Storm teammates Steph Talbot (10 rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Magbegor (six rebounds, three steals) each added 12.
Australia led by four after the first quarter, but China led by six at halftime and by three entering the fourth.
Team USA and China will now meet in the gold medal game at 2 a.m. on Saturday. Canada and Australia clash for the bronze at 11 p.m. Friday.