The USA Basketball women’s national team lost to Australia, 70-67 on Friday afternoon in a friendly match.
If you watched just the first half of the game, you may have felt very confident about a Team USA victory. The Opals were without the recently-departed Liz Cambage, and were likely primed for a loss. That said, Australia was draining a good number of threes to keep the score tied at 19 in the first. Team USA countered with a smaller lineup in the second quarter to build a 41-28 lead at halftime. But as the saying goes, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over!
After the break, the Opals stormed right back in the third quarter to make the score 56-51.
And from there Australia took the lead after Washington Mystics guard Leilani Mitchell drained this three in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The USA was able to tie the game up with 2:59 left after some free throws by Breanna Stewart. However, they gave up another four-point lead 70-66 with less than two minutes left and couldn’t make a potential game-tying three by Stewart close to the buzzer.
While Mitchell only scored 6 points for Australia, that above-mentioned three was critical to helping the Opals get an upset over an American team that is now 0-2 in friendlies, including the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game last Wednesday.
Washington Mystics center Tina Charles and guard Ariel Atkins scored 6 points each. For Australia, Seattle Storm forward Ezi Magbegor scored 17 points.
The key stat from this game as the three point shooting and overall shooting disparities. The USA only shot 37.3 percent from the field and 2-of-18, or 11.1 percent from three. The Opals shot 45.8 percent from the field and 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) from three.
The USA women have one more friendly before the Olympics when they play Nigeria. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. ET.