Team USA dropped 145 points to break a basketball World Cup record — but some are calling it poor sportsmanship

Team USA dropped 145 points to break a basketball World Cup record — but some are calling it poor sportsmanship
Cheryl Reeve gives players instructions during a Team USA game at the 2022 FIBA World Cup.
Head coach Cheryl Reeve gives players instructions during a Team USA game at the 2022 FIBA World Cup.AP Photo/Mark Baker
  • USA Basketball has dominated the field through its first five games at the 2022 FIBA World Cup.

  • Cheryl Reeve's team dropped 145 points against South Korea, breaking the event's scoring record.

  • Some saw the onslaught as poor sportsmanship, even as the US bench outscored their opponents.

USA Basketball is blowing the competition out of the water.

Cheryl Reeve's squad of WNBA superstars has bulldozed each of its first five opponents at this year's FIBA World Cup in Sydney, Australia. On Monday, Team USA earned its most lopsided victory of the tournament: a 76-point win against South Korea.

With eight players in double figures, the reigning Olympic gold medalists dropped 145 points to break the World Cup's all-time scoring record. And according to ESPN, USA Basketball's 94 points in the paint, 62 made field goals, and 36 assists were all the highest ever recorded by a team in the event's 69-year history.

A'ja Wilson reacts during Team USA's big win over South Korea.
A'ja Wilson reacts during Team USA's big win over South Korea.Steve Christo - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

"I don't think I've ever been part of a team that can score the basketball like this,'' A'ja Wilson, who contributed 20 points to the rout, said after the game. "This is crazy; we put up 145 points. I think when you look at us and just knowing how talented we are, we just came together, and we play together very, very well.''

Not everyone was impressed with the Americans' offensive onslaught. Much like the response to the US Women's National Soccer Team's infamous 13-0 win over Thailand at the 2019 World Cup, some onlookers accused the US of poor sportsmanship, taking issue with the All-Star team's dismantling of an opponent by such a wide margin.

But just like the USWNT's situation three years ago, USA Basketball can't afford to let up as it chases some precious hardware. The Americans have won each of the past three World Cups, and this young group has no intention of settling for less now that it's their turn.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper (left) dribbles into the paint.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper (left) dribbles into the paint.AP Photo/Mark Baker

Even despite the pressures of defending several titles, Reeve made sure to pull her starters as the gap grew in Monday's contest. None of her first five logged more than 20 minutes in the game, and all 12 players on her roster saw at least nine minutes of action.

The bench still outscored South Korea's whole team by 19 points.

Other teams have suffered similarly large losses against the mighty United States; Puerto Rico fell by 64 on Thursday, while Bosnia and Herzegovina took a 62-point loss on Tuesday. Even Belgium and China — two of the higher-ranked teams in this year's tournament — lost to the US by double digits.

Team USA's Alyssa Thomas blocks a shot.
Team USA's Alyssa Thomas blocks a shot.AP Photo/Mark Baker

The Americans head into the knockout stage of the tournament boasting a perfect record. They'll face a 3-2 Serbia squad Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET — or noon local time. Fans can tune in on ESPNU.

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