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2020 Olympics: USA to meet Japan in women’s basketball gold medal game

The USA made easy work of Serbia while Japan continued their three-point rampage on another top FIBA Europe opponent.

2020 Tokyo Olympics: USA v Serbia
Washington Mystics center Tina Charles is on track to win her third Olympic medal. Question is whether she’ll have a gold one.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The semifinals of the 2020 Olympics women’s basketball tournament are now complete. Here are the recaps.

USA beats Serbia, 79-59

United States v Serbia Women’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 14
Ariel Atkins scored 4 points in Team USA’s semifinals win.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The USA Basketball women’s national team made easy work out of Serbia, the current Women’s EuroBasket champions with a 79-59 rout. Though this was a blowout, it wasn’t like Team USA was shooting 60 percent from the floor (they didn’t break 50) or force the Serbians to commit 20 turnovers (Serbia only committed 12).

Rather, the Americans just played hard-nosed defense and forced Serbia to 30.3 percent shooting for the entire game, which helped them maintain the lead for nearly the entire game except the very beginning.

Tina Charles scored 6 points and Ariel Atkins scored 4 points for Team USA off the bench. Brittney Griner led the American scorers with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Yvonne Anderson led Serbia’s scorers with 15 points.

Japan blows out France, 87-71 after ANOTHER strong shooting display

Japan v France Women’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 14
Rui Machida dished 18 assists in Japan’s surgical beatdown of France.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Before Japan faced Belgium in the quarterfinals of these Olympics, I made sure that I let you know that the women’s team from the Empire of the Sun is MUCH BETTER on the worldwide stage than their men’s counterparts. You saw that after they persevered to beat the Belgian Cats. And now they took their game to another level by beating Les Bleues in the semis!

France was playing a competitive game against the Japanese in the first half and even led by as many as 8 early in the second quarter. But Japan, the best three-point shooting team in this group, made 11-of-22 from deep, and they dished 28 team assists to overwhelm the French, especially in the second half once the outcome of the game was all but decided.

Rui Machida was Japan’s star. She scored only 9 points, but like her American counterpart Sue Bird, Machida is better known for her assists. She dished 18 of them tonight! You don’t see Russell Westbrook dishing 18 dimes in a 48-minute game very often, and she did in just a 40-minute game (and ONLY PLAYED 27 MINUTES OF IT)! She is averaging 13.8 assists PER GAME in the Olympics. That is practically unheard of in any level of basketball, whether it’s a FIBA/IOC competition like this, the WNBA or NBA. Wow!

Hinawari Akaho added 17 points and Yuki Miyazawa added 14 more.

For Les Bleues, Sandrine Gruda led with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. However, the French only shot 40.8 percent from the field while the Japanese shot 52.5 percent, including their twos...

Before I move onto the next section, Rui Machida may seem like she has the same first name as Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, but apparently, that’s not true when you see their names written in Japanese:

Medal Round

Here are the matches for the final round when medals are on the line:

  • Serbia vs. France, Saturday, Aug. 7 at 3 a.m. ET
  • USA vs. Japan, Saturday, Aug. 7 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

The United States already played Japan in the group stages in an 86-69 win where they also prevented the Japanese from going bonkers with their threes, at least efficiency-wise.

While there may not be a large number of fans in the stands, Machida and the crew still have home court advantage, and stranger things have happened in basketball. After all, the Japanese have beaten the bigger and more-bally-hooed Belgian and French teams in back-to-back games!