It was only close for the initial couple of minutes but after that, Team USA took control of their semifinal contest at the Tokyo Olympics and prevailed.
They comfortably beat Serbia - the reigning EuroBasket Champions - by a margin of 20 (79-59) and advanced to their seventh consecutive Gold Medal game. The victory also extends Team USA's unbeaten streak at the Olympics to 54 games.
🇺🇸 #USABWNT will play for a SEVENTH consecutive Olympic gold medal at #Tokyo2020! 🥇@brittneygriner 15 PTS, 12 REB@cgray209 14 PTS@breannastewart 12 PTS, 10 REB pic.twitter.com/tBuJHZ518L- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 6, 2021
Team USA were led by three double-digit scorers in Brittney Griner (15), Chelsea Gray (14) and Breanna Stewart (12). Grinner and Stewart were also the two of only three players in the game, from both teams, to pull down double-digit rebounds.
For Serbia, their point guard Yvonne Anderson was the top scorer with 15 points. For more on this win, we have you covered with some takes below.
Team USA create distance with 1Q run
After the first 2:24 minutes of the game, Serbia led 4-3 but that changed quickly. Over the remainder of the quarter, Team USA went on a 22-8 run and separated themselves.
Picked up the pace to close out the first quarter! Stewie leads six USA scorers with 6 PTS. Birdie added 5.- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 6, 2021
END 1Q | 🇺🇸 25 🇷🇸 12#Tokyo2020 #Basketball pic.twitter.com/kxJMKQqWIe
The reigning six-time gold medalists never game up this control and only extended this lead by outscoring the Serbians 16-11 in the second quarter.
Overall, that first-quarter run always kept a safe distance between Serbia and Team USA.
Serbia's recovery not enough
At halftime, Serbia were trailing 41-23 and weren't looking threatening but in the second half, they showed plenty of character. The reigning EuroBasket champions were outscored by a slim margin of two points in the second half 38-36, one in each quarter.
On multiple possession, they successfully surprised Team USA with a full-court press and turned that into points. For the game, they recorded 13 steals and forced Team USA into 17 turnovers, off of which they scored 19 points.
After losing the fastbreak battle 8-0, at one point, they flipped that by finishing ahead 15-14. They competed on the offensive glass, outrebounding Team USA 16-10.
Serbia recovered but they simply couldn't make-up the deficit they gave up in the first half. Nevertheless, their second-half play should give them plenty of momentum and confidence to carry into their Bronze Medal game, the medal they captured at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Team USA's superior shot-making prevails
Despite the great second-half Serbia played, it came down to making shots. Team USA did just that and more efficiently.
For the game, Team USA shot 48 percent from the field while assisting on 19 of their 30 made field goals. On the flip side, Serbia made 23 field goals but did so at an efficiency of just 30%, a difficult number to overcome when they were giving up as many as they were.
Another notable contributor for Team USA was Sue Bird - eight points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Team USA are now one win away from winning their seventh consecutive gold medal. They will now face the winner of the other semifinal between France and China.
If they win that, Team USA would have lost just one game (semifinal of 2006 FIBA World Cup) in major competitive FIBA competitions, such as FIBA World Cups and Olympics, since 1996.
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