Australia - USA 73-86 Facing its first challenge of the Olympics, the U.S. women's basketball team turned up its defensive pressure and turned away Australia. Trailing early in the second half, U.S. coach Geno Auriemma turned to his Olympic rookies and the group - led by Tina Charles (193-C-88, agency: LBM Management, college: Connecticut) and Lindsay Whalen (175-PG-82, college: Minnesota) - pressured the Australians into turnovers and bad shots, sparking a pivotal scoring run in the third quarter to help the U.S. beat Australia 86-73 on Thursday. The Americans, playing for a fifth straight gold medal, will meet the winner of the France-Russia semifinal. Australia went right at the U.S. behind 6-foot-8 Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91), but the Americans' depth and pressure defense wore down another opponent. The Australian's budding star scored 19 points in the first half and Australia led 47-43 at halftime. But the Americans held her scoreless in the second half. The Americans had cruised through their first six games winning by an average of 38 points before facing the No. 2 team in the world in the semifinals - a round earlier than they had met at the past three Olympics. With the U.S trailing 56-55 in the third quarter and star Diana Taurasi (183-SG-82, college: Connecticut) sidelined with four fouls, Auriemma turned to his bench. The reserves responded, sparking the game-changing run. Whalen started the 16-6 burst by scoring the first six points and Seimone Augustus (183-SF-84, college: LSU) chipped in another four to help the Americans build a 65-59 lead at the end of the third quarter. They also cranked up the defensive pressure; Australia shot just 4 of 18 from the field in the third. The U.S. extended its lead to 11 on Charles' two free throws early in the fourth period and Australia could only get within nine the rest of the way. The Americans improved to 7-0 all-time in the Olympics against Australia. Charles and Taurasi each scored 14 for the U.S. Sue Bird finished with 13 points. The Americans have won the last four golds and 40 consecutive Olympic contests dating back to the bronze medal game in 1992. The top two teams in the world had met in the previous three gold medal games with the U.S. coming out on top. This was the first time they had played in the semifinals since 1996. Cambage, making her first appearance in the Olympics, was unstoppable in the first half. She was able to catch the ball close to the basket and the Americans couldn't contain her. She made eight of her 12 shots to give the Australians a four-point lead at the break. Australia shot 61 percent in the first half, but only had nine baskets in the second half. "They started playing zone and that threw us off in the third quarter," said Cambage, who's only shot of the decisive period was a wild 3-pointer with the shot clock running down. Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81) finished with 14 points for Australia. A gold medal is one of the only things lacking from Jackson's impressive career. She's won a world championship, two WNBA titles and is the Olympics all-time leading scorer. Yet she's come up just short in her four Olympic appearances against the U.S. The Australians have already had the two most memorable moments in women's basketball at the Olympics. Belinda Snell hit a 50-foot heave to send a game into overtime and Liz Cambage had a dunk against Russia, which might have been the first in Olympic history. For one half, they looked to be on the verge of another unforgettable moment - an upset of the favored Americans. Instead, they ran out of gas. Australia came into the London Games off a disappointing fifth place finish at the 2010 world championship. The Australians are missing star guard Penny Taylor, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the Euro League finals in April. They lost a pool game to France - the first time they were beaten by a team other than the U.S. in the Olympics since 1996. *Courtesy of The Associated Press (via www.wtnh.com)
Russia - France 64-81 Edwige Lawson-Wade (166-PG-79) scored 18 points and Emilie Gomis (180-G/F-83) added 15 to help France rout Russia 81-64 in the women's Olympic basketball semifinals on Thursday. The French will play the U.S. for the gold medal Saturday night in a matchup of the only unbeaten teams in the tournament. France, which is playing in only its second Olympics, is assured of winning its first medal in women's basketball with the semifinals win. While the French found ways to win tight games in the preliminary rounds, they jumped out in front of Russia early -- scoring 10 of the game's first 11 points and never looked back. Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) continued her stellar play for France. She finished with 11 points against Russia and has hit several clutch shots for the French during their impressive Olympic tournament run. Becky Hammon (175-PG-77, agency: Josep and Nicolas, college: Colorado St.) scored 13 points to lead Russia, which will play Australia for the bronze medal. Courtesy of ESPN
South Carolina's Dawn Staley to be named head coach of U.S. women's Olympic team - 13 days ago
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After winning three gold medals as a player and working as an assistant coach on teams that have collected two more, Dawn Staley will have the chance to lead the United States women's basketball squad at the Olympics. USA Basketball has called a news conference for Friday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium, and sources indicate that Staley, head coach at South Carolina, will be named women's national team head coach for the next Olympic cycle leading up to the 2020 games in Tokyo. Accord... [read more]
After winning three gold medals as a player and working as an assistant coach on teams that have collected two more, Dawn Staley will have the chance to lead the United States women's basketball squad at the Olympics. USA Basketball has called a news conference for Friday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium, and sources indicate that Staley, head coach at South Carolina, will be named women's national team head coach for the next Olympic cycle leading up to the 2020 games in Tokyo. According to USA Basketball, the news conference will be to announce the head coach who will lead the U.S. women's national team in the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, if necessary the 2019 Olympic qualifying tournament, and the 2020 Olympics. The United States is the juggernaut of Olympic women's basketball, winning its sixth consecutive gold medal last year in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. women have won 49 straight games in Olympic play, and are 66-3 since beginning play in 1976. Staley will succeed Geno Auriemma, the head coach at Connecticut, who has overseen the U.S. women's teams for the past two Olympic games. Staley was an assistant to Auriemma at last year's games, the second time she has worked in that role. She was also an assistant to Anne Donovan on the gold-winning team at Beijing in 2008. Staley has long been a mainstay for USA Basketball. She played on U.S. Olympic teams that won gold in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and the U.S. flag bearer at the opening ceremonies at her final games in Sydney. As a head coach, Staley has led U.S. women's teams to gold medals three times: at the 2007 Pan-American Games, the 2014 under-18 FIBA Americas Championship, and most recently the 2015 under-19 FIBA World Championships in Russia. At USC, Staley has led the Gamecocks to unprecedented heights in women's basketball, and enjoyed a run of success second in SEC history only to the glory days of Tennessee under former head coach Pat Summitt. South Carolina this season won its fourth straight SEC regular-season title, and third straight SEC Tournament crown. In 2015, Staley led USC to the women's Final Four for the first time in program history. The Gamecocks (27-4), ranked No. 4 in this week's AP poll, are expected to be a No. 1 regional seed for the fourth straight year when the NCAA Tournament field is unveiled Monday. Courtesy of: postandcourier.com
Rio 2016: USA fire past Spain to clinch sixth straight title - 7 months ago
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USA - Spain 101:72 Team USA earned the sixth straight Olympic Gold. They rallied past Spain in the championship game tonight. Lindsay Whalen (175-PG-82, college: Minnesota) and Diana Taurasi (182-SG-82, college: Connecticut) scored 17 points each for the winners. The teams stayed close throughout the opening quarter. Team USA grabbed a 21:17 lead after ten minutes of action. The North American side unloaded 28 points in the second term to gain a 17-point halftime advantage. They stretch... [read more]
USA - Spain 101:72
Team USA earned the sixth straight Olympic Gold. They rallied past Spain in the championship game tonight. Lindsay Whalen (175-PG-82, college: Minnesota) and Diana Taurasi (182-SG-82, college: Connecticut) scored 17 points each for the winners. The teams stayed close throughout the opening quarter. Team USA grabbed a 21:17 lead after ten minutes of action. The North American side unloaded 28 points in the second term to gain a 17-point halftime advantage. They stretched the margin in the third term. Team USA reeled off to a massive 32-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Spain sank 23 points in the fourth term to cut the deficit at the end. Maya Moore (183-SG-89, college: Connecticut) provided 14 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in the victory. Alba Torrens (188-F-89) responded with 18 points for Spain. Marta Xargay Casademont (181-PG-90) chipped in 12 points in the losing effort.
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