Updated: Oct 23
The United States is expected to win, and more often not, they are expected to win big. The 2022 USA Basketball Women's National Team took that to another level in their 145-69 victory over South Korea early Monday morning. The previous record in World Cup play (119 points) was set by the 2006 team versus China and matched by the 2014 team against Angola. Despite matching their previous record, the 2006 team failed to reach the gold medal match after losing to Russia in the semifinals. However, the USA did go on to claim its second bronze medal in a 99-59 win over Brazil.
Speaking of Brazil, the United States broke a 32-year-old World Cup record (143 points in 1990 against Malaysia) previously held by Brazil. 2022 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun) came up big for USA head coach Cheryl Reeve with a team-leading 24 points. Jones shot at an 86% clip, going 12/14 from the floor.
"Got off a little bit slower than what we wanted," Reeve said to open the postgame press conference. "We had a group that came in there and really changed things for us," added Reeve.
The difference in the game came from the ability to score 90 points in the paint and create 30 points off second-chance opportunities boosted by 22 offensive rebounds. Jones, the reigning WNBA Finals MVP A'ja Wilson, and USA Basketball rookie Shakira Austin were bright spots for Reeve and her USA Basketball staff.
Neither Jones nor Austin saw minutes in USA's win over China the other night. However, Reeve does not expect that will be the norm for Jones.
"Bri Jones is one of the players I talked to following the last game. She is not going to be someone that's not going to see the floor like how it happened [against] China. As I told her, the game kinda got away from us.
She is going to be a part of our rotation, I can't guarantee how many minutes, but obviously, today was a typical Brionna Jones game. She's so relentless in the paint. Second chances, she was a big part of that. I thought defensively she was able to get her mitts in there and get deflections."
Before opening the tournament against Belgium, I asked coach Reeve about Austin and what we could expect from her on this USA roster.
"Kira brings consistency that you know, every time she plays, she's going to bring an athleticism of length and defend, and rebound, and do simple things. Her experience in the WNBA with a team like [the] Washington (Mystics) is similar to what you'll experience here.
Austin led USA Basketball with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the 106-42 win over Puerto Rico. Reeve again would not guarantee minutes but was complimentary of what Austin could bring.
The 6"5 center tallied another 16 points and eight rebounds from the bench in the historic win over South Korea Monday morning.
The United States has already punched a ticket to the 2022 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. They will wrap up group play tomorrow (September 27th) against 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Grab your late-night snacks and watch with Black Rosie Media on Playback.
Watch game highlights on the 2022 FIBA World Cup playlist on the Black Rosie Media YouTube page.