U.S. women break team record with 27th straight FIBA World Cup win

SYDNEY — The US women’s basketball team has a long history of success at the World Cup.

The names change over time, but the results don’t seem to.

Kelsey Plum scored 20 points, Chelsea Gray added 16 and the United States defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 121-59 on Tuesday to break the team record for consecutive World Cup victories.

The victory was the 27th in a row in the World Cup match for the Americans, who have not lost since the 2006 semi-final against Russia. The USA won 26 consecutive games from 1994 to 2006 before this game. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 consecutive wins from 1959-86.

“It’s kind of amazing,” said Breanna Stewart, who has been part of the last three World Cup teams. “Of course I was here for part of it, but you understand the legends before that, which really started the streak. It goes to show that no matter who plays in US basketball, we always try to achieve excellence.

“This series doesn’t mean much at the moment because we’re going into the quarter-finals and we’re focused on winning a gold medal, but it’s something to hang your hat on later.”

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed down to Stewart and A’ja Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon.

“The players are changing and there was a lot of concern about who would be next,” said US coach Cheryl Reeve. Then it was Sue and (Taurasi) and then other great players too. Now with this group they’re like, hey, we’re pretty good too.”

After another undefeated pool game, the USA has not lost a game before the semifinals since 1983.

“We know the responsibility when you put on this jersey. There’s a lot more than yourself,” Plum said. “Everyone brings pride to the side. We have a common goal. We have some great players in this team.”

The Americans (5-0) won their pool games with an average of 46.2 points and were not behind in any of them. Now they will wait and see who they draw in the quarterfinals.

The US came off a record win over South Korea in which the team broke the World Cup record with 145 points. While the Americans didn’t reach that number, they put the game out of reach in the first 10 minutes, going up 33-15.

The lead rose to 63:31 at half time. Bosnia and Herzegovina put on a small run early in the third quarter, but the US scored the last 19 points of the period.

Once again they capitalized on a dominant inside effort to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 84-28 in a color led by Wilson, Stewart and Brionna Jones.

“It’s a big part of who we are,” Reeve said. “No matter what we had yesterday at ninety and today at 84, we just know what we’re good at and we have players who really understand their potential for that.”

USA was missing Jewell Loyd, who the team said is resting. Kahleah Copper started in her place and finished with 11 points.

Nikolina Elez scored 19 points and led the Bosniaks (0-5) playing in their first World Cup.

https://www.espn.com/olympics/basketball/story/_/id/34673948/us-women-break-team-record-27th-straight-fiba-world-cup-win U.S. women break team record with 27th straight FIBA World Cup win

Emma Bowman

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