Saving the best for last has become an attribute the last two games for the USA Basketball women’s national team.
It was a second half surge that propelled Team USA to a 71-40 win in the quarterfinals over Nigeria’s D’Tigress. It was a third-quarter scoring binge that lifted the Stars and Stripes to a 93-77 victory against Belgium.
Team USA only led 40-39 over Belgium at the half before outscoring The Belgian Cats 33-18 in the third quarter.
Remove the third quarter, and it may have been a very different result. Instead, Team USA will be playing for history as it hopes to become the first team to ever win three consecutive FIBA World Cups.
Leading all scorers was Diana Taurasi, who tallied 26 points. Breanna Stewart finished with 20 points and seven rebounds while Brittney Griner added 16 points.
Tina Charles pulled in seven rebounds while Sue Bird added seven assists. Jewell Loyd put in six assists as well.
Emma Meesseman was a big reason for Belgium’s push as she scored 23 points. Kim Mestdagh finished with 12 points and Kyara Linskens tallied 10. Jana Raman grabbed five rebounds.
Later that day, Team USA found out its opponent in the final will be Australia. The championship contest most thought would occur at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will happen with a FIBA gold medal on the line.