A fifth consecutive Olympic women’s basketball gold medal belongs the USA’s women after they hammered France 86-50 on Saturday night at The 02 in a final that was unexpectedly one-sided.
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Candace Parker had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Americans, who pulled away late in the first quarter and then used a 19-0 run in the third period to rip Les Bleues’ hopes to shreds.
“It’s really hard to put into words,” said head coach Geno Auriemma. “You get a lot of chances to win national championships but to win an Olympic gold is a once in a lifetime. This is an unbelievable group of players to coach. I’ve 12 players who all want to play and they are great players.”
Opals claim bronze
Lauren Jackson and Kristi Harrower earned their fourth Olympic medals after helping Australia to a 83-74 win over Russia in the bronze medal game.
Harrower had 21 points playing in her final Olympic women’s basketball game while her long-time colleague had 25 and 11 rebounds to help the Opals end the tournament on a high.
The opening quarter featured 10 lead changes and five tied scores in the game’s first 12 minutes. In the second quarter Australia shot 8-for-11 from the field to lead by as many as 10 points.
Russia narrowed the lead to 38-30 at the half thanks to a late lay-up from guard Becky Hammon. The Russians struggled with early fouls as both Natalya Vieru and Marina Kuzina picked up three personal fouls early on.
An early 5-0 run to start the second half helped Russia cut the lead to three with a basket from Elena Danilochkina, but Australia continued to shoot the ball well to lead 57-43 at the end of the third quarter.
Hammon tried to spark a comeback, scoring two quick baskets early in the fourth quarter. Anna Petrakova hit two three-pointers to pull Russia within seven points with 2:32 remaining in the game, but Harrower sealed the win, hitting 5 of 6 free throws in the game’s final minute.
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