Stewart, Wilson propel US to 100-88 win over China
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain (AP) – Breanna Stewart scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half and A’ja Wilson added 20 to help the United States beat China 100-88 on Sunday in the second day of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
China trailed only 36-35 midway through the second quarter as the U.S. was still trying to figure out a lineup that worked on offense and defense. The Americans then closed the half on a 12-4 burst. Wilson had six points during the run. Layshia Clarendon, who played a few minutes in the first game, also provided a spark off the bench in the spurt. She had two points, two assists and two rebounds.
The Chinese team hung around in the third quarter and trailed 60-54 before Stewart, who played in China the past few winters, took over. She scored nine of the next 11 points and China couldn’t get within seven the rest of the way.
The Americans were still missing Brittney Griner, who suffered a slight sprain of her right ankle in practice Friday. Griner said after the win over Senegal she would have played if it was an elimination game. China was able to exploit the lack of Griner with its own 6-foot-9 center Han Xu.
Han showed an impressive array of post moves as well as a deft touch from 10 feet. The 18-year-old finished with 20 points and left to a warm ovation from the crowd with 20 seconds left.
China (1-1) is the youngest team in the tournament with the average age 23 years.
The U.S. (2-0) hasn’t lost to China in six meetings in the World Cup. The Americans won the first five meetings by an average of 25.8 points.
The victory was the Americans’ 18th in a row in the tournament and 43rd in the past 44 games in the World Cup. The only blemish over the past 20 years was a loss to Russia in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. Sunday’s game came on the 12th anniversary of that loss.
TIP-INS: Many of the U.S. players have competed in China in the offseason. Stewart, Griner, Morgan Tuck, Jewell Loyd and Tina Charles all have spent time there. Wilson will be headed there this year. … Elena Delle Donne played only 3 ½ minutes on Sunday. She suffered a bone bruise in the WNBA playoffs and is still recovering. She said that she and Dawn Staley would talk before each game to discuss how she was feeling.
China: will face Senegal on Tuesday with second place in the group at stake.
U.S.: will face Latvia on Tuesday looking to continue its dominance.
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