Aug. 9, 2012
LONDON -- For the USA Women's Olympic Basketball Team, the semifinal-round battle with Australia was a tale of two halves. After trailing for much of the opening 20 minutes, the Americans turned the tide by outscoring the "Opals," 22-12 in the third quarter and marched on to the gold medal game with an 86-73 victory Thursday at North Greenwich Arena.
The Red, White and Blue, which toppled the Aussies in the final game to win gold medals in 2000, 2004 and 2008, had to get past their nemesis just to play in the championship contest. After recording its 40th-consecutive win in Olympic competition, dating back to 1992, Team USA will do just that, taking on either Russia or France in the gold medal tilt at 4 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday. NBC will have the telecast, and a live stream will be available at NBCOlympics.com.
Former Lady Vols Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker each tossed in seven points for USA, which will try to extend its run of gold medals to five-straight Olympiads on Saturday. Catchings also pulled down eight rebounds and had two steals in 23 minutes, while Parker grabbed five caroms and an assist in 18 minutes of play. Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles each had 14 to pace the Americans in scoring.
With 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage seeming unstoppable in the first half, Australia moved out to 22-20 lead after the first quarter and held a 47-43 advantage at the half. The USA rallied its forces at halftime, however, and came up with a plan that held the Aussie post scoreless over the final 20 minutes. The result was the Americans out-pointing the Opals, 22-12, in the third stanza and, 21-14, during the fourth period.
USA finished 28 of 61 from the floor for 46 percent shooting, while Australia connected on 25 of 51 tries for 49 percent accuracy. In the decisive third frame, however, the Americans provided more pressure on the Opals, causing the Green and Yellow to hit only four of 18 attempts during that 10-minute span.
For access to bios for Catchings and Parker and a game schedule, please go to the UT Olympics Website.