DimeMag

The USA Women Dominated Serbia To Reach The Gold Medal Game

After looking a bit vulnerable in spots in the group stage, the USA women’s basketball team has hit its stride in the knockout rounds. After cruising past Australia in the quarterfinals, the Americans met Serbia in the semifinals and never gave them much hope in what became a 79-59 win to advance to a seventh straight gold medal game (in search of their seventh straight gold medal).

Team USA jumped out to a 25-12 lead after one quarter and it looked like they were set to steamroll Serbia, smothering them on defense and working the ball beautifully on offense to create great looks. The offense stalled for much of the second quarter, as Serbia got within nine, but the defense never let up as even a poor shooting quarter saw Team USA extend its lead to 18 at the half. Leading the way in the first half was Sue Bird with eight points and some slick passing, as she and Diana Taurasi provided their steady, veteran hands to help Team USA jump on top early.

The second half was more of the same from the Americans, as Britney Griner imposed her will inside to lead Team USA with 15 points and 12 rebounds, Chelsea Gray relieved Bird to score 14, and Breanna Stewart was her usual dominant self with 12 points and 10 boards. It wasn’t the typical USA offensive performance we’ve come to know in this tournament, as they shot just 48 percent from the field and 28 percent from three, but they more than made up for it with their best defensive effort so far.

Serbia simply could not get anything going on the offensive end, as their three-point shot wouldn’t fall (21 percent for the game) and they had nothing for the size of the Americans inside, struggling to get anything going to the basket consistently, ultimately shooting 30 percent from the field for the game. Yvonne Anderson tried her best to carry the offense with 15 points, but needed 16 shots to get there and it was evident from the jump that the Serbians just weren’t going to have the firepower needed in this matchup.

Up next for Team USA will be a rematch of some form from the group stage, as Japan and France will play later on Friday for the right to try and overcome the Americans in the gold medal game.

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