The United States defeated China in their second group game of the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup on Sunday, 100-88. Elena Delle Donne played just three minutes in the win and scored two points because she is still managing her knee injury from last month.
The margin of victory is quite small for American standards, largely because they allowed the Chinese to shoot 47 percent from the field in the game. And in fact, the Americans were only ahead by single digits until the last quarter when depth saved the day once again.
Breanna Stewart led Team USA with 23 points while A’ja Wilson added 20 more. Considering that Brittney Griner hasn’t played yet in due to an ankle injury, expect to see this young frontcourt tandem to play more together as the Americans head toward the elimination rounds. For China, Mengran Sun scored 16 points.
All in all, the good news is that Team USA won and that Delle Donne is still well enough to play. They also have enough depth to overcome their age and fatigue issues from a compressed WNBA season. However, the Americans are also in a “rebuilding phase” considering that six of the 12 players on this team are in their first senior international competition.
This game is also a reminder that Team USA is beatable. Like I mentioned on Saturday against Senegal, Team USA is also adjusting to each other. They can get away with some of their mistakes or lack of chemistry against weaker opponents since their group does not have the established European powers like France or Spain. But if and when the Americans play France or Spain, their luck could also run out. Hopefully, they will figure it out over the course of this week.
Team USA concludes group play against Latvia on Tuesday. Tip off is at 1 p.m. EST.