The USA Basketball women’s national team defeated Japan 110-64 on Tuesday. However, they were only leading by 10 at the end of the first half and looked quite vulnerable until they went on an 8-0 run to be up 56-46 at halftime. The Americans also had to play much of of the game without Sue Bird who suffered a knee injury. Fortunately, it was a knee capsule sprain and she is just day to day.
The USA men’s national team has been shaky during these Olympics primarily because this team was a hodge-podge of All-Stars who are expected to learn things on the fly and wing out a Gold Medal, especially after a number of 2012 Olympians and 2014 World Cup winners opted out.
The women’s team has played with chemistry and most of the players on this team were in the 2012 London Games. But they’re old, and Japan exploited that to their advantage for a half by keeping up the pace. They kind of have the opposite problem of the men’s team because all of the top players want to play for their country, but USA Basketball is too willing to let the old players on the roster over younger options.
Anyway, we’re now in the semifinals of the women’s tournament. The Americans will compete for a medal either way, and thanks to SERBIA (!!!!) their road to a sixth straight Gold Medal just go that much easier.
Here’s the schedule:
Spain vs. Serbia, 2 p.m. ET
Spain got to the semifinals after defeating LaToya Sanders and Turkey 64-62 in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday. Sanders herself made a layup with just four seconds remaining, but on the following possession, Anna Cruz made a desperation shot to give the Spaniards a W. Sanders scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked 2 shots, and stole the ball four times in the loss. For Spain, Cruz scored 14 points along with six assists and three rebounds.
Serbia has been known for overachieving in the last couple years in international play. And they once again made some noise by beating Australia 73-71 to advance. They key to this game was turnovers as the Serbians forced the Opals to commit 26 of them, while they committed just nine themselves.
The Australians won practically every other major team stat such as assists, field goal percentage, and rebounds. As you might have expected, the usual suspects like Jelena Milovanovic (17 points) and Ana Dabovic (24 points) provided the bulk of the scoring along with Mercury foward Sonja Petrovic (13 points). With the loss, the Opals will not win an Olympic medal for the first time since 1992.
I can’t pick a winner of this game. All I know is that it can go either way. Watch this on NBC SportsNet or stream it on NBCOlympics.com.
United States vs. France, 6 p.m. ET
I already talked about the Americans in depth, so I’ll get to France, who defeated Canada 68-63 after overcoming a slow start when they were behind 25-16. Former WNBA player Sandrine Gruda led the way by scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The French have been hampered due to injury because their starting point guard Celine Dumerc got a left ankle injury just days before the Games were to begin. It has been impressive to see that France has made it this far without one of their most important players, but I doubt they will give the USA a serious test unless they pick up the pace like Japan did. You can also watch this on NBC SportsNet or stream it on NBCOlympics.com.