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World Cup Gameday 5 recaps: Aces’ backcourt finishes off perfect group play slate for Team USA

Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray starred for the Americans in a rout of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here are recaps of all six games from the final day of group play in Sydney.

USA v Bosnia & Herzegovina - FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup
Kelsey Plum (with ball)
Photo by Steve Christo - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The Las Vegas Aces’ backcourt had it going in Team USA’s 121-59 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sydney on Tuesday, the final day of group play for the 2022 FIBA World Cup. Kelsey Plum (20 points) and Chelsea Gray (16 points) each had seven assists as they paced the Americans in the blowout. Plum’s plus/minus was 55.

Plum was 8-of-11 from the floor while Gray was 4-of-5 from three. A’ja Wilson (7-of-8 from field, 14 points) and Shakira Austin (7-of-9 from field, 15 points) added to the efficient effort as Team USA shot 65.8 percent from the field as a team and 8-of-16 from three.

Breanna Stewart (seven boards) and Brionna Jones (five boards) were also in the teens in scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Kahleah Copper added 11 points and six rebounds. She started in place of Jewell Loyd, who was resting.

Wilson led the team in steals with four. Also notable were five-assist performances from Ariel Atkins (three steals) and Sabrina Ionescu.

Chelsea Gray scored her 16 points with 16 minutes and 39 seconds of playing time while Austin scored her 15 in just 13:09. Team USA spread out the minutes with nobody playing more than Plum’s 27:29. B. Jones was the next-closest at 22:12.

The U.S. won the first quarter 33-15, the second 30-16, the third 29-13 and the fourth 29-15.

WNBA superstar Jonquel Jones had seven points (2-of-3 from distance) and 10 rebounds in defeat. She accounted for nearly half of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s rebounds as the U.S. won that battle 44-21. Nikolina Elez notched 19 points to lead B&H.

B&H took nearly twice as many threes (31) as the Americans but made the same amount as them. It also attempted just one free throw to Team USA’s 11. The U.S. forced 23 turnovers while committing just seven and won fast break points 34-0.

Team USA finishes as the only 5-0 team in group play and in first place in Group A. It will be advancing to the quarterfinals. B&H will not as it finishes 0-5 (last place Group A).

Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73

Puerto Rico is headed to its first-ever World Cup quarterfinals after finishing 2-3 in group play (fourth place Group A). South Korea fell to 1-4 and will not advance.

Former Colorado star and WNBA first-round draftee Mya Hollingshed was phenomenal with 29 points (5-of-6 from downtown), 12 rebounds and three assists for the winners. Former Rutgers star/former Los Angeles Spark Arella Guirantes added 18, five and five. Isalys Quinones (seven boards) and Jennifer O’Neill both had 15 points.

Puerto Rico started the game on an 18-0 run.

South Korea got 60 combined points from three players: Leeseul Kang (22), Hyejin Park (20) and Jihyun Park (18).

China 81, Belgium 55

China (4-1) led by just nine entering the fourth against an Emma Meesseman-less Belgium team (3-2), but ran away with a 27-10 final frame. Both teams have qualified for the quarterfinals out of Group A.

It was a balanced scoring effort for China. Chicago Sky center Yueru Li had one of the strongest performances with 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Siyu Wang (11 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals) and Sijing Huang (10 points, eight rebounds. three assists, four steals) were also key. New York Liberty center Xu Han added 10 points, six boards and two blocks.

Kyara Linskens led Belgium with 14 points and seven rebounds. Chicago Sky point guard Julie Allemand added seven points and a team-high four helpers.

Canada 88, Mali 65

Minnesota Lynx forward Bridget Carleton went off for 27 points (7-of-8 from deep), eight rebounds and three assists for Canada (4-1), which advances to the quarterfinals out of Group B. Mali (0-5) will not advance.

Former WNBA player Kayla Alexander dropped 19 points (6-of-6 from field) and hauled in 14 boards to go along with four assists and three blocks for the winners. Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse was good for 11 points and Lynx forward Natalie Achonwa chipped in with nine points and four helpers.

WNBA draftee Sika Koné managed a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in defeat.

Canada led 33-16 after one and 53-29 at the half.

Serbia 68, France 62

Sasa Cado hit a key 3-pointer that put Serbia (3-2) up 67-62 with 25 seconds remaining and the Serbians held on to win. Both they and France (3-2) advance to the quarterfinals out of Group B.

Yvonne Anderson, who spent time with the Connecticut Sun in 2022, notched 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals for the winners. Jovana Nogic (17 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Tina Krajisnik (12 points, 13 rebounds, two steals) were the other key players for Serbia.

Seattle Storm forward Gabby Williams had 12 points, five boards, four helpers and four steals in defeat.

Australia 71, Japan 54

New York Liberty guard Samantha Whitcomb’s 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc paced Australia (4-1), which advances to the quarterfinals out of Group B. Japan (1-4) will not advance.

Marianna Tolo added 14 points and six rebounds to the winning cause and WNBA players Steph Talbot, Kristy Wallace and Ezi Magbegor contributed as well. WNBA legend Lauren Jackson played four minutes and made a 3-pointer.

Monica Okoye was the lone Japanese player in double-figure scoring with 14 points.

Australia trailed by two after one, but won the final three quarters by four, 11 and four, respectively.