SYDNEY — It’s been a whirlwind week for Alyssa Thomas.
She went from dropping in the WNBA Finals on Sunday to flying 10,000 miles to Australia an afternoon later to play for the United States in the World Cup. Thomas had 14 issues, 9 assists and 7 rebounds in her debut for the Americans, who beat Belgium 87-72 in the event opener on Thursday.
After studying she’d be on the U.S. roster, she by no means gave any idea to skipping the World Cup.
“Excited to be a part of this, been waiting a long time,” the 30-year-old Thomas mentioned.
U.S. trainer Cheryl Reeve used to be inspired with what Thomas used to be ready to do with the fast turnaround time.
“It’s what I expected Alyssa to do, as it’s just what she does. She’s a competitor and knows how to (play),” Reeve mentioned. “WNBA players don’t get enough credit for how well that they transition from overseas play to WNBA play to national team play.”
Breanna Stewart scored 22 issues and Jewell Loyd additionally scored 14 for the short-handed U.S. staff, which used to be nonetheless lacking Las Vegas Aces gamers A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum. They have been on their means to Australia after celebrating the franchise’s first WNBA championship with a parade on Tuesday. The trio is predicted to be in Sydney on Friday.
Thomas and her Connecticut Sun teammate Brionna Jones, who additionally arrived on Wednesday, have been two of six gamers on the roster who hadn’t performed for the U.S. in both the World Cup or Olympics.
This staff may be very other from the person who gained a 3rd directly gold in Spain in 2018. Sue Bird is retired, and Diana Taurasi is out as smartly. Brittney Griner, who would had been on this staff, has been held in Russia since February and closing month used to be sentenced to 9 years in jail on drug fees in a politically charged case. The U.S. executive is making an attempt to protected her unlock.
These groups met in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, with the Americans the use of a large 3rd quarter to draw back and win by way of 16.
The Americans jumped out to a handy guide a rough 12-0 lead on Thursday ahead of Belgium settled down to get inside of one. The U.S. lengthened the lead once more at the back of Stewart and Loyd, and used to be up 48-39 on the part. The Americans went on a 12-4 run to get started the 3rd quarter and put the sport away.
The U.S. did a stellar process defensively on Belgian Emma Meesseman. The Chicago Sky celebrity led the Olympics in scoring closing 12 months, averaging 26.8 issues. She had 4 in opposition to the U.S, which has now gained 23 consecutive World Cup video games since dropping in the 2006 semifinals to Russia. The Americans are 3 wins in need of matching their report 26-game run from 1998 to 2006.
Julie Vanloo scored 13 issues to lead Belgium.
“Really proud of this young team,” Meesseman mentioned. “Sometimes we lacked focus but a lot to be proud of and looking forward to the next few games.”
USA Basketball determined to don’t have any one put on Griner’s No. 15 in this event. The Americans have used numbers 4 to 15 for a very long time. Jones, who would had been 15, used to be dressed in No. 16.
Puerto Rico beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 82-58 for the rustic’s first-ever World Cup win.
Thomas, who had a triple-double in every of the closing two video games in the WNBA Finals, fell simply in need of getting the primary one on the World Cup since Erika Dobrovicova did it in 1994 for the Slovak Republic in opposition to Spain. Assists and rebounds were not stored ahead of 1994.
The U.S. had 25 assists on 30 baskets. … The Americans pressured 25 Belgium turnovers that led to 27 issues. … Belgium hit 11 3-pointers to keep in the sport.
Belgium: Faces South Korea on Friday.
U.S.: Plays Puerto Rico on Friday.