SYDNEY — The United States got their FIBA World Cup campaign off to a strong start, securing an 87-72 win over Belgium at the Sydney SuperDome.
With A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum yet to touch down in Australia following their WNBA championship victory for the Las Vegas Aces, Team USA was led by a powerhouse performance from Breanna Stewart who recorded a game-high 22 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Team USA set the tone for the tournament early, flying out to a 12-0 run, before Belgium crept back into the contest, trailing 48-39.
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Team USA regrouped after the break to begin the third period on a 12-4 run to re-establish their double-digit lead, running away with the contest to move to the top of Group A.
Jewell Lloyd added 14 points, while Alyssa Thomas flirted with a triple-double, recording 14 points nine assists and seven rebounds in 27 minutes on court.
Belgium’s Emma Meesseman was held in check by USA’s swarming defense, limiting the former WNBA Finals MVP to four points, four rebounds and four assists on 2-of-6 shooting.
Team USA has now won 23 consecutive World Cup games as they look. to make it four straight gold medal wins.
They next face Puerto Rico in their second game of the group phase on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET (Saturday, 10:30 a.m. AEST).