US women outlast Aussies to reach hoop final

Facing a major threat to their Olympic women's basketball dynasty, the United States shut down 2.03m centre Liz Cambage in the second half and beat Australia 86-73 on Thursday to reach the gold medal game.

The four-time defending champion Americans stretched their Olympic win streak to 40 games and will try to claim a fifth gold medal in a row Saturday against unbeaten France, which downed Russia 81-64 in the other semi-final.

"It is a great thing that we have another opportunity to win gold," US guard Sue Bird said. "It's harder to get there than it is to play the gold medal game."

The Aussies made sure of that, giving the US Women's NBA stars their hardest fight by shooting 20-of-33 from the field in the first half, 61 percent, and having Cambage strike for 19 points as the Opals led 47-43 at half-time.

"We took Australia's best shot and we were only down four," Bird said. "We didn't hang our heads or feel deterred. We knew it was going to be tough.

"We knew if we just tightened up our defence they weren't going to make those shots in the second half."

Cambage didn't score a point in the second half, the passing lines to her cut off by speedy guards and physical defence from Tina Charles and Candace Parker denying her the inside position that made her unstoppable early.

"We went down fighting," Cambage said. "They went to zone and I think that shook us up a little bit. They came out fighting and upped their defence.

"Yeah, they shut me down. They started double-teaming, going after the ball a lot more. It's hard. They are the elite of the basketball world."

Diana Taurasi hit two 3-pointers in an 8-1 US run to open the third quarter, putting the Americans up 51-48, and the Aussies led 56-55 late in the third hen the US women took command.

US guard Lindsay Whalen scored six points in a row and Charles added the net four in a 26-10 run that put the Americans ahead 81-66 with 3:25 to go, Cambage rendered a mere spectator.

"We couldn't allow her to get position," Parker said. "In the second half, we made it a lot harder to go to Liz."

"We had to stop Cambage," Charles added. "We weren't making it hard for her. We weren't using our quickness. We tried to get aggressive on defence. We took it more personal."

The US women, who have not lost at the Olympics since the 1992 semi-finals, improved to 16-0 against Australia in Olympic and world championship play. They are 8-1 against Russia and 6-1 against France in the same events.

Aussie 1.96m veteran Lauren Jackson, the all-time Olympic scorer whose 14 points gave her a career record 550, also was unable to solve the US defenders.

"In the second half we weren't able to adjust. They were just able to capitalize on our errors," Jackson said. "We did our best. We battled. We definitely showed strides but America are absolutely the best team here.

"We can hold our heads up high. We played hard right until the last minute. It was just one of those games where they pulled it back. We played our hearts out. Now we have to regroup and try and win the bronze medal."

Australia lost to the US women in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 finals but faced the Americans a round earlier this year after losing a group game to France.

Charles scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to spark the US women while Diana Taurasi added 14 points and Bird contributed 13.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options