US women’s basketball dominates on international stage

Sep 30, 2022, 11:01 PM | Updated: Oct 1, 2022, 11:58 am
Gold medalists the United States hold their trophy aloft as they celebrate on the podium after defe...

Gold medalists the United States hold their trophy aloft as they celebrate on the podium after defeating China in the final at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

              Gold medalists the United States celebrate on the podium after defeating China in the final at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
            
              Gold medalists the United States celebrate on the podium after defeating China in the final at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
            
              China's Wu Tongtong reacts with United States' Chelsea Gray following their gold medal game at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
            
              United States' coach Cheryl Reeve instructs from the sideline during their gold medal game against China at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
            
              United States' A'ja Wilson, left, is congratulated by her teammate Breanna Stewart after Wilson was named most valuable player of the tournament after the gold medal game at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
            
              Players from China celebrate with former NBA start Yao Ming, fourth left, after winning silver medal in the final game against the United States at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
            
              Gold medalists the United States hold their trophy aloft as they celebrate on the podium after defeating China in the final at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart are keenly aware of the legacy of success they are part of with the U.S. women’s basketball team.

They don’t plan on letting the incredible run end any time soon.

“I don’t think we’re showing signs of stopping, that’s for sure,” Stewart said. “We have a lot of people are entering their prime or are in their prime.”

Wilson and Stewart helped the U.S. to a fourth consecutive World Cup championship Saturday with an 83-61 win over China, setting a record margin for a gold-medal game.

“Everyone knows that when you come here, when you wear USA across your chest the (pressure) that comes with it,” Stewart said. “It’s just embracing that. All the legends before us and what they’ve done, how they’ve won. Each team is different and we need to make our imprint on history.”

This team left its mark on the World Cup as one of the most dominant teams in the Americans’ storied history, winning four straight gold medals and 30 games in a row in the tournament. Next up for this group is the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The Americans will be trying for an eighth consecutive gold medal there.

“This is something that’s special to us. It’s not lost on us what’s been done since 1996. I hear about it all the time,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “What I wanted to do is make sure this journey was fun. Because I think there’s some times when you have pressure to win or the perceived pressure, it takes the enjoyment out of it.”

What started with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi has now been passed down to Wilson and Stewart. With Alyssa Thomas the oldest player at 30, the domination could continue for years to come.

“It’s been an incredible journey just to continue to lay that foundation down like so many of the greats in front of us have,” Wilson said. “Now it’s our turn to step up and be in that situation.”

The U.S. (8-0) finished the World Cup averaging 98.8 points — just short of the mark held by the 1994 team that averaged 99.1. They won by an average of 40.8 points, topping the amount by the 2010 team.

“Maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey now’s the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said. “I think what we showed is that our league, the WNBA and professional basketball players in the United States are really, really good.”

As they’ve done all tournament, the Americans did it on both ends of the court, playing stellar defense as well as using a high-powered offense.

The game was a sellout with nearly 16,000 fans — the biggest crowd to attend a women’s World Cup game since the inaugural tournament in 1953 in Chile.

“You can’t say people don’t support women’s basketball,” Stewart said of the crowd. “If you look at all these people in this arena tonight. There was a lot of people cheering for us and against us, but they’re here watching women’s basketball.”

While the U.S. will be the heavy favorite to win the gold in Paris, there are new teams emerging. China won its first medal since the 1994 World Cup, and Canada reached the medal round for the first-time since 1986.

“I think every team will learn from this experience. You gain a lot of knowledge in the World Cup,” Reeve said.

___

More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Brazil's Neymar reacts after the penalty shootout at the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match betwee...
Associated Press

Pelé sends message of support to Neymar after World Cup exit

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian soccer great Pelé congratulated Neymar for matching his national team scoring record on Friday, and then commiserated with the player for his World Cup exit. Pelé, who has been hospitalized while being treated for a respiratory infection, posted his message on Instagram after Brazil lost to Croatia in the quarterfinals […]
18 hours ago
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, left, embraces quarterback Baker Mayfield after the Rams de...
Associated Press

Rams’ lost season suddenly brightened by Baker magic

Now imagine what Baker Mayfield and Sean McVay can do with two practices together. That’s the prevailing thought around the Los Angeles Rams while they head into a highly enjoyable long weekend after their stunning, come-from-behind, last-minute 17-16 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night. “That was a special night,” McVay said Friday. […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Kansas school’s students disciplined for offensive behavior

Several students at a Kansas high school have been disciplined for their behavior during a high school basketball game after a coach accused them of making offensive chants toward his team. Topeka High School Coach Geo Lyons said his team was subjected to “racial slurs, threats and disgusting taunts” by students from Valley Center High […]
18 hours ago
A man holds an Argentinian flag prior to the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between the Nether...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: World Cup highlights from Day 18

Highlights from the 18th day of the World Cup in Qatar on Friday. ___ AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
18 hours ago
FILE - Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud celebrates after a long run against Indiana during the se...
Associated Press

Georgia QB Bennett is old-school Heisman Trophy contender

NEW YORK (AP) — At a time when Heisman Trophy winners are usually on their way to being first-round picks in the NFL draft, Stetson Bennett is a contender from another era of college football. The Georgia quarterback already has a national championship ring and this season he has stepped up his own play in […]
18 hours ago
Croatia's goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saves a ball during the penalty shoot out at the World Cup q...
Associated Press

Croatia wins yet another penalty shootout at World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — When it comes down to a penalty shootout at the World Cup, count on Croatia to make it through. Twice already at the tournament in Qatar and twice four years ago in Russia, the Croats had to steel themselves for one of the toughest — and certainly one of the […]
2 days ago
US women’s basketball dominates on international stage