Missy Franklin returns to winning ways in Minneapolis

Missy Franklin
AP
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Missy Franklin notched her first individual race victory in seven meets, coming from behind to take the 100m backstroke at a Pro Swim Series competition in Minneapolis on Friday night.

“Getting a win under my belt for the first time in quite a while feels really, really good,” Franklin told media in Minneapolis.

Katie Ledecky won a race for the second straight night, while a frustrated Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were beaten in their events, just like Thursday in the Olympic season-opening domestic meet.

“Maybe Katie can teach me how to swim fast in season,” Phelps joked to media in Minneapolis.

Full results are here. The meet concludes Saturday with finals at 7 p.m. ET, streamed on USASwimming.org.

Franklin overcame a characteristic slow start in the 100m back, was in fourth place at the 50-meter turn and stormed to edge Kylie Masse, 1.00.18 to 1:00.31. In November 2011, Franklin won this event in Minneapolis in 59.69 seconds.

Franklin, a four-time 2012 Olympic champion, came into this week without a victory in her previous six meets — in Santa Clara, Calif., in June, the World Championships and, most recently, four international World Cup stops. Her 100m back time Friday was faster than her previous eight times racing the distance at World Cups since Worlds.

Franklin bagged a record six gold medals at the 2013 World Championships and then suffered back spasms two days before the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

She persisted to win three individual NCAA Championships in March but dealt this spring and summer with transitions from collegian to professional, from California back to Colorado and from her college coach back to longtime coach Todd Schmitz, as well as continuing preventative maintenance of her back.

If Franklin makes the Olympic team at the trials in June and July, she will go into Rio looking to reclaim backstroke dominance from Australian Emily Seebohm and to battle top freestyle swimmers from Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Hungary and countrywoman Ledecky.

Also Friday, Phelps led after 150 meters of the 200m butterfly but was passed on the final length of the pool by longtime training partner Chase Kalisz. Kalisz won in 1:58.07, with Phelps taking second in 1:58.38. In 2011, Phelps won the 200m butterfly in 1:56.12 in Minneapolis.

“I’d love to go out and swim a lot faster than what I’m doing now, but just putting into really perspective, I think, it’s fine, really, where I am,” Phelps said. “If I can start here and build my way through each Grand Prix and get faster at each Grand Prix, that’s what we want.”

In August, Phelps clocked the world’s fastest time since 2009 — 1:52.94.

“I thought being in [better] shape racing [than last year] would be easier, but it seems like it’s harder,” said Phelps, who took second in a consolation final of a 100m backstroke 20 minutes later. “I don’t know why that is.”

Swimmers train to peak for summer meets and certainly not November meets, and Phelps is swimming this week after three weeks of training at altitude in Colorado Springs. Phelps previously finished third in the 100m butterfly Thursday, leaving pieces of banana bread in the University of Minnesota pool.

“Putting my body through this pain now is going to make the end of the [season] so much better,” Phelps said. “As hard as it is now and as frustrating as it is now, it’s going to make it that much better at the end. That’s just something I have to remember.”

Lochte finished fourth Friday in the 100m backstroke, an event he doesn’t usually swim in major international competition. On Thursday, he finished second in the 200m freestyle.

Then there’s Ledecky, who notched a victory and a personal best in separate events for the second straight day.

Ledecky won the 400m freestyle by two seconds in 4:02.67. It was well off her 3:58.37 world record, of course, but also faster than any other woman has clocked this year.

“I just didn’t feel like I had much pop tonight,” Ledecky told media in Minneapolis. “I can’t complain.”

Ledecky also finished eighth in the 50m free after a faster preliminary swim in the event of 25.45 seconds, which was .92 under her previous personal best.

On Thursday, Ledecky won the 200m free and clocked a personal best in the 400m individual medley. She is not expected to have designs on competing in the 50m free or the 400m IM at the Rio Olympics but could swim the 400m IM at the Olympic trials.

In other Friday events, Nathan Adrian won the 50m free in a time .04 slower than his World Championships silver medal time from August. Cammile Adams, also a World silver medalist, took the women’s 200m butterfly.

MORE: Missy Franklin embraces ‘disappointments’ going into Olympic season

U.S. women’s basketball team scores most points in FIBA World Cup history

Brionna Jones
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SYDNEY — A’ja Wilson and the U.S. put on quite a show, breaking the World Cup scoring mark in a record rout of South Korea.

Brionna Jones scored 24 points and Wilson added 20 to help the U.S. beat South Korea 145-69 on Monday. Shakira Austin’s layup with 9 seconds left helped the Americans break Brazil’s record of 143 points set in 1990.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a team that can score the basketball like this,” Wilson said. “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.”

The U.S. always has the most talented and deepest roster of any team in the World Cup with 12 WNBA stars on the roster. Still, the Americans had never come close to that sort of offensive output during it’s storied World Cup history. The previous team record was 119 points against Angola in 2014 and China in 2006. The scoring margin was also the biggest in U.S. history as well surpassing the 75-point win over Angola in 2014.

The win was also the 26th in a row in World Cup play for the Americans, who haven’t lost since the 2006 semifinals when they fell to Russia. The U.S. also won 26 in a row from 1994-2006. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 straight wins from 1959-1986.

MORE: FIBA World Cup Results

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed on to Breanna Stewart and Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon.

The U.S. (4-0), which has been playing stellar defense, was challenged by South Korea early. The teams were trading baskets for the first 8 minutes and it was tied at 21 before the Americans took control, scoring the final 11 points of the period.

Kahleah Copper came off the bench for the first time of the tournament and scored six points during that spurt. The Americans kept the streak going to start the second quarter, scoring nine of the first 11 points to put the game away.

By the time the game reached the half the U.S. was up 68-40, including scoring 44 points in the paint against the undersized Koreans.

“We were trying to get the ball inside,” Jones said. “We had an advantage there.”

The only suspense in the second half was how many records the Americans could break. They took down their own scoring mark on Sabrina Ionescu’s 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the game and kept putting up points with Austin’s layup capping off the contest.

Other records broken on Monday included the 62 field goals made, 36 assists and 94 points in the paint.

“Our size was a problem for them and I thought we shared the ball,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said.

The Americans were well rested for the game after having their first day off of the tournament on Sunday.

Despite the rout, South Korea (1-3) can still advance to the quarterfinals with a win over Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Leeseul Kang, who had 37 points in a win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, scored 10 points. Hyejin Park had 17 to lead the team.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final