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Olympic Women’s Basketball medal game previews and GameThread

The Americans go for their sixth consecutive Olympic Gold Medal.

Basketball - Olympics: Day 13 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

We are finally in the weekend, and it’s time for us to see who will win the medals in the Olympic women’s basketball tournament. France and Serbia will duke it out for the Bronze, while the USA and Spain will fight for the Gold.

Bronze Medal Game: France vs. Serbia, 10:30 a.m. ET

Basketball - Olympics: Day 11
Jelena Milovanovic will try to lead Serbia to its first medal in women’s basketball since 1988, when it was Yugoslavia.
Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

France got here after losing 86-67 to the Americans on Thursday. The French managed to keep this game close since they were down by just four points, 40-36 at the half. Sylvia Fowles and Diana Taurasi stepped up big time in the second half to blow this game wide open in the second half. Sue Bird did not play because of a knee injury she suffered in the quarterfinal game against Japan, but is day-to-day. I’d imagine she’s going to play vs. Spain. Isabella Yacoubou led the French with 14 points.

As for Serbia, they lost 68-54 to Spain in their semifinal match after their big upset over Australia. The Serbians were playing catch up pretty much the entire game, but this game was over when they failed to score a single point in the first six minutes of the third quarter.

Their stars also had below average shooting nights as Jelena Milovanovic only scored 10 points on 15 shot attempts and Ana Dabovic scored eight points on 12 shot attempts. They also had trouble getting to the free throw line, as they only attempted 12 free throws while the Spanish attempted 29.

This match is a repeat of the EuroBasket Women 2015 final, so this should be an exciting game to watch.

If Serbia wins, this will be their first medal ever as Serbia, but I’d say this is their third medal. The Serbians can claim that their most recent medal was in the 1988 Seoul, Korea games when it was Yugoslavia. In Seoul, the Yugoslavians won the silver medal where they lost to the Soviet Union. They also won the Bronze Medal in the 1980 games in Moscow, Soviet Union (REMEMBER IT WAS NOT RUSSIA IN THOSE DAYS!).

If France win, this will be their second consecutive medal and second overall.

Watch this on USA Network.

Gold Medal Game: United States vs. Spain, 2 p.m. ET

Basketball - Olympics: Day 13 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

After the men played Spain yesterday, it’s the women’s turn and the stakes are higher.

If there’s something that American need to watch out for with Spain (and all European teams), it’s off the ball movement. In American basketball we tend to fall in love with watching basketball around the player who holds the ball and the player defending him or her. The Europeans have made it more of a true five-on-five matter so players without the ball may be unlikely scorers until ... it happens.

The American game is quickly become more about ball movement and three pointers, especially in the men’s game or the Washington Mystics because Emma Meesseman thrives in that type of a system like

Of course, the Americans are favored to win Gold and they already hammered the Spanish in group play.

However, I will go as far to say that Spain wants to win this game more than the USA. The question is whether the elements are in place for that to happen. The United States is a slower, older team. Three of their players (Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings) are going for their fourth Gold Medal. All eyes are on them. No one outside of the Iberian Peninsula is going to care about the likes Alba Torrens and Anna Cruz. I don’t mean to say it in a derisive way — in this case, that’s to their advantage.

If Spain pushes the pace and gets some backdoor scores on unassuming American defenders, this game could be very close, not unlike the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Gold Medal games between the American and Spanish men’s teams.

If the USA wins, this is their sixth straight Gold Medal and ninth medal overall. This is Spain’s fourth Olympics overall, but the first time they have won a medal. The outcome of these games will determine what type it is.

This game will be on NBC proper.