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USA power into women’s basketball World Cup semi-finals

Sydney (AFP) – Kelsey Plum drilled a game-high 17 points and grabbed two rebounds as the United States powered into the women’s basketball World Cup semi-finals Thursday with a 88-55 pummelling of Serbia.

The victory made it a 10th consecutive World Cup that the Americans have gone undefeated before the last four, as they target a 11th title and fourth in a row.

The US were 50-33 ahead at half-time and kept firm control to set up a last four clash against either world number four Canada or 17th-ranked Puerto Rico, who play later.

A’ja Wilson added 15 points and eight rebounds for the US while Yvonne Anderson scored 14 to lead Serbia at the Sydney Superdome.

It was never going to be easy for the Serbs, with the all-conquering US on a 28-game unbeaten streak, their longest since winning 26 from 1994-2006.

They averaged 107.2 points in each of their five preliminary games despite missing Wilson, Plum and Chelsea Gray for the first two, with the trio arriving late after their Las Vegas Aces team won the WNBA championship.

Little separated the two sides in the first quarter, with the US taking a narrow 25-23 lead, shooting 57 percent to Serbia’s 48 percent.

The USA has been brutal in punishing errors, and they stepped up a gear to dominate around the board, building a 50-33 lead. Connecticut Sun power forward Alyssa Thomas led the scoring as they went on a 12-0 run.

Serbia, ranked 10, was shooting just 30 percent from the field and were held to just seven points in the third quarter, going more than eight minutes without scoring, before the Americans put another 22 points past them in the fourth to romp home.

The only negative for the USA was Kahleah Copper being helped off with what looked like a groin injury in the second quarter, after a heavy collision.

In the other quarter-finals, China face France and hosts Australia, the beaten 2018 finalists, take on Belgium later Thursday.

© 2022 AFP

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