Taurasi helps U.S. reach gold-medal game

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Sports -

SAN CRIS­TO­BAL DE LA LA­GUNA, Spain — Just as it has done for most of the tour­na­ment, the U.S. used a big third quar­ter keyed by Diana Tauarsi and Bre­anna Ste­wart to pull away from an op­po­nent.

This time, it was Bel­gium, whose one-point half­time deficit turned into 16 by the end of the third pe­riod. Taurasi fin­ished with 26 points, in­clud­ing hit­ting five 3point­ers, to help the U.S. win 93-77 on Satur­day in the semi­fi­nals of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

“We got some stops, they are a re­ally good team. They’ve been play­ing to­gether for a long time, you can tell,” Taurasi said of the third quar­ter in which the U.S. outscored Bel­gium 33-18. “We got a cou­ple more stops, we made a cou­ple more plays on of­fense, wore them down a lit­tle bit.”

Bre­anna Ste­wart added 20 points while Brit­tney Griner had 16 for the Amer­i­cans, who will be go­ing for a third straight gold medal at the worlds — some­thing the coun­try has never done.

“That’s what we’re here for,” said Elena Delle Donne, who is on her first World Cup team.

The U.S. has won 21 con­sec­u­tive World Cup games and will play Aus­tralia or Spain for the ti­tle Sun­day. The play­ers took the diplo­matic route, say­ing they didn’t care which team they faced for the gold.

Bel­gium, mak­ing its first ap­pear­ance in the World Cup, was led by Emma Meesse­man’s 23 points. The Bel­gians al­ready had sur­passed their goal of reach­ing the quar­ter­fi­nals. A bronze medal would be an ex­cel­lent achieve­ment.

“I don’t know who is go­ing to play us,” Meesse­man said. “I know we’re go­ing to give all we have left.”

Bel­gium hung around for 25 min­utes thanks to Meesse­man and solid out­side shoot­ing. The score was 52-52 mid­way through the third quar­ter be­fore the U.S. closed the pe­riod with a 21-5 run. Griner, Ste­wart and Jewell Loyd keyed the spurt. Bel­gium came no closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Meesse­man got her team go­ing early, scor­ing 13 points in the open­ing quar­ter as Bel­gium shot 56 per­cent to lead 26-21 af­ter one quar­ter. The U.S. ral­lied be­hind Taurasi and Elena Delle Donne, who had seven points in the sec­ond quar­ter to give the Amer­i­cans a 40-39 half­time lead.

HELPER MARK: Sue Bird is now one as­sist shy of match­ing Dawn Sta­ley’s ca­reer mark of 103 for USA Basketball at the World Cup. She had seven against Bel­gium to match her best-ever in the Worlds.

Sta­ley, when hear­ing that Bird was one as­sist away, joked that “she’s not play­ing.”

Bird was hon­ored to have a shot at her coach’s mark.

“I think any­time you can break a record, it’s one of those things later, when it’s all said and done, you have a true ap­pre­ci­a­tion. This one is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent when it is some­one like Dawn who’s hold­ing it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.