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In a tight contest throughout, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team (2-0) fended off France (1-1) for a 93-82 win on Monday afternoon at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo.
The USA trailed 72-71 at 9:02 in the fourth quarter, but outscored France 22-10 to close out the win.
A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces/South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.) had 22 points and seven rebounds; Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm/Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.) added 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists; Tina Charles (Washington Mystics/Connecticut/Jamaica, N.Y.) finished with 15 points and five assists; Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury/Baylor/Houston, Texas) scored 11 points; and Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm/Notre Dame/Lincolnwood, Ill.) dished out eight assists.
The first quarter saw a 9-2 U.S. run to start the game, but France countered with a 9-0 stretch to go ahead 11-2 at 5:30. The game was tied at 11-11 and 13-13, before France closed by outscoring the USA 9-6 to lead 22-19 after the first quarter.
The teams traded baskets for the first 4:03 of the second quarter, and the USA tied the game 39-39 with two scores in a row at 5:15. France answered with a 3, and the lead changed hands three times before the USA closed with a 7-0 run to go ahead 50-44 at halftime.
Stewart had all 14 of her first half points in the second quarter, and the USA was a red-hot 66.7% from the field (12-18 FGs) in the second frame.
The USA was hurt by six turnovers in the third quarter, which saw France outscore the USA 23-21 to cut the USA’s lead to four points, 71-67, heading into the fourth quarter.
France scored the first five points of the final period to lead 72-71, but the USA responded with seven straight points to retake a 78-72 lead at 7:12 on the second-straight jumper from Wilson. After scores from both teams, the USA added a 3 from Sue Bird (Seattle Storm/Connecticut/Syosset, N.Y.) and did not let France any closer than six points from there. Charles scored eight of her points in the fourth, including two 3-pointers.
The USA will find out its quarterfinal match-up following the draw that will be held after the final preliminary round game is played tonight.
Check back soon for more.