Australia and the United States will meet in the semifinals of the Olympic women’s basketball tournament after both teams survived Tuesday’s quarterfinals at the Basketball Arena.
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It proved a historic day for centre Lauren Jackson whose 12 points in her team’s defeat of China gave her an overall tally of 536 to surpass retired Brazil international Janeth Arcain scorer of most points in Games history.
Jackson and her team team will now get another shot at the USA, who have defeated the Opals in the gold medal game at the last three Olympic Games.
The USA breezed past Canada in the first game of the day.
Russia line up against France in the other semifinal after beating Turkey and Czech Republic respectively. Both semifinals will be played on Thursday at The 02 Arena.
USA 91 Canada 48
Diana Taurasi had a game-high 15 points as USA built on an early 11-0 flurry to dominate the Canadians and extend their Olympic winning streak to 39 games, a run that began 20 years ago to the day.
The WNBA star sparked an 11-0 run in the first quarter that sent her side 19-4 clear and Candace Parker, who added six of her 12 points in the second period, extended the gap to 42-17 with 43 seconds left before the break.
Canada never looked capable of overturning the deficit, shooting only 30% from the floor while committing 26 turnovers under constant pressure from the USA.
With several members of the USA men’s team in the stands, the USA women pulled ahead 89-40 with 2:45 left.
“We have a good group, they don’t need a lot of motivation,” said USA coach Geno Auriemma. “We have good individuals that want to do a lot of things, there’s a good mix of experience as well as five players playing in their first Olympics so it doesn’t take a lot for me.
“I’ve been much more British, calm and understated, than I am at home, and it seems to be working.”
Kim Smith scored 13 points for the Canadians, who were making their debut in the women’s last eight at an Olympic Games.
Australia 75 China 60
Lauren Jackson became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Olympic women’s basketball tournament as Australia booked a semifinal showdown with the USA with a 75-60 victory over China in a quarterfinal game at the Basketball Arena on Tuesday.
The three-time silver medallist took a pass from Belindina Snell and finished off a fast break with 3:46 left in the game to end up with 12 points, taking the centre one ahead of the mark of 535 set by Brazilian international Janet Arcain.
More importantly, it capped a decisive 12-1 run in the fourth quarter that broke the resistance of the Chinese and sent the Opals into the last four of the Games for the fifth consecutive time.
An 8-0 run in the first quarter gave Australia an early cushion, but a 7-0 burst from China eventually brought them back to level at 29-29 with 1:46 left in the second period.
After that, it was back and forth with the sides trading narrow leads before Australia finally made their move.
Liz Cambage delivered another dominating performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, scoring a game-high 17 points, and she keyed a 16-3 close to the game as the Opals capitalised on their rebounding advantage to set up a reunion with the USA.
“We’ve had to come back a few times in this tournament,” Jackson said. “I think that we don’t want it to be like that with the Americans because they’re way too good for that. It’s going to be a really interesting game in terms of how we respond to their running and their size whereas we’ve been playing a lot of shorter teams. It’s going to be interesting to see how it pans out.”
MA Zengyu scored 15 points to lead China.
Russia 66 Turkey 63
Becky Hammon drove to the net and nailed a layup with 13 seconds left in the game to break a tie and Russia went on to beat Turkey 66-63 in a women’s basketball quarterfinal game at the Basketball Arena on Tuesday night.
The American-born guard, who has established herself as Russia’s clutch player, finished with 19 points and moved Russia into the semifinals where they will play France.
The result was in doubt until the final shot of the game as Birsel VARDARLI (TUR) saw her last-second three-point attempt fly off-target.
Russia used a 10-0 run late in the first quarter to pull clear and Hammon’s three-pointer moments later extended Russia’s cushion to 28-16.
But Nevriye Yilmaz had nine of her game-high 22 points in the second period as Turkey slowly rallied back to trail only 34-28 at half-time.
Hammon ignited another flurry to extend Russia’s lead to 42-34 with 5:51 left in the third but Quanitra Hollingsworth guided the Turks to a closing 7-2 burst which drew her side level at 51-51 headed into the final quarter.
As momentum switched back and forth, there was deadlock again with 28 seconds left when Vardarli found room on the baseline to level at 62-62 but then Hammon drove through the paint to restore Russia’s lead.
It proved decisive with Hollingsworth missing one of her two free throws, forcing the Turks to foul to stay in contention.
But Irina Osipova and Evgeniya Belyakova converted from the line before Vardarli’s shot came up short.
France 71 Czech Republic 68
Celine Dumerc sparked a brilliant fourth-quarter rally as France surged from 13 points down to beat the Czechs. The French captain had 10 of her game-high 23 points in the final nine minutes as Les Bleus saved their best until last to reach the last four of the Olympic Games for the first time.
But they were forced to fight to the very end to hold off a Czech side that produced their finest performance of the tournament to nearly pull off an upset.
“What I told my teammates is: we will not cry at the end,” Dumerc said. “We don’t want to cry. So fight until the end. We made some big mistakes. They made a good game, but we took the opportunity to make a big game.”
Katerina Elhotova hit a three-pointer that cut France’s lead to 16-12 at the end of the opening quarter, and the momentum shift continued as the Czechs hit six unanswered points at the start of the second.
It was the first of five lead changes in quick succession with Jana Vesela, who scored eight of her 12 points in the period, pushing her side 28-23 ahead before Dumerc’s jumper and a three by Emilie Gomis from the corner tied the game at half-time.
But the Czechs continued to surprise with the kind of display that took them on a shock run to the 2010 world championship final.
Eva Viteckova, scoreless in the first half, exploded for successive three-pointers in a 10-0 run as the French were held without a basket for over two minutes as the third period began.
France were struggling against their rivals’ perimeter defensive pressure and Viteckova took her tally to 13 as the Czechs pulled 51-38 clear.
But Dumerc once again carried her team. The point guard reduced the deficit to single figures early in the fourth period and her three-pointer with 5:19 to go left the Czechs with a 59-57 cushion.
The pressure grew as Endene Miyem made her presence felt in the paint. Then Isabelle Yacoubou hit two free-throws that put France 64-63 in front, before Ilona Burgrova forced a lay-up that had her team ahead with exactly two minutes left.
But Dumerc saw her three-pointer from the corner fly through the net and and it proved to be the decisive blow.
Viteckova ended with a team-high 17 points.
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