Team USA’s quest for a seventh consecutive gold medal continues with an interesting quarter-final against the Australian Opals. The Americans and Aussies meet on Wednesday at 12:40 ET (USA Network).
With a 3-0 record in Olympics, Team USA wins Group A, while Australia finishes a disappointing third in Group C with a record of 1-2 and qualifies on the basis of points differential. Obviously, the Opals Team USA overturned in their showdown in mid-July in Las Vegas when the combination of poor outside shooting and a myriad of turnover by the Americans helped the Aussies overcome a 13-point deficit to reach the no. 1 to defeat. position in the world, 70-67.
Since then, the game of the Americans has improved. But despite its unbeaten record, Team USA has not yet maintained its expected dominance. Opponents’ defensive pressure, his own defensive interruptions and offensive miscommunication upset Team USA unusually in the Olympics. However, the size advantage served as the ultimate trump card.
The first time Olympic player A’ja Wilson scored the U.S. in all three games, averaged 20.3 points for the tournament. Co-greats Breanna Stewart and Brittney Griner are second and third in the score for Team USA, averaging 13.7 and 13 points per game, respectively. Stewart and Wilson also did a good job on the glass, with an average of 10.3 rebounds and Stewart grabbing 10 boards per game.
Yet, even without Liz Cambage, the Australians have the size needed to stay with the Americans’ elite groups. Ezi Magbegor, who dropped 17 points to the U.S. in the Aussie’s exhibition win, and Cayla George each stand 6-foot-4, with both also having the ability to stretch and shoot from afar. Marianna Tolo, who gave the name a Game 3’s top performer for her 26-point and 17-rebound double-double in Australia’s win over Puerto Rico, is 6-foot-5. Magbegor, George and Tolo are 15, 13.7 and 13 points per game of the Opals, respectively.
The pressure will therefore fall on the American and Australian backyards to outperform their peers.
Japan and Belgium must fight in good spirits
The two most wholesome stories of the women’s Olympic basketball tournament meet in the quarterfinals, and host Akatsuki Five tackles the Belgian cats on Wednesday at 04:20 ET (USA Network). After just losing to Team USA in pool, Japan finished second in Group B to advance to the quarterfinals. Belgium finished second in Group C, after also leading 2-1.
By advancing to the quarterfinals in its first Olympics, Belgium has already experienced a successful Olympics. In 2018, however, Belgium qualifies for the World Cup for the first time ever and finishes fourth. It is therefore unlikely that the cats are satisfied.
Emma Meesseman is the driving force for Belgium, averaging 27.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in her debut Olympics.
Can the sweet, too-small Japanese, hoping to win their first ever Olympic medal and do so on their own soil, find a way to delay the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP?
Expect Maki Takada to face this difficult challenge. Although Takada stands only 6-foot-1, Takada is the Japanese’s defensive anchor and he struggles admirably with France like Sandrine Gruda and Brittney Griner of Team USA during pool play.
Another electrical performance behind the bow could also help the best Belgium in Japan. Japan shoots a tournament-best 38.5 percent from deep.
Can Spain continue an excellent Olympics with a victory over France?
Spain were possibly the most impressive team in the Olympic pool game, with an unbeaten 3-0 to win Group A. To finish on the podium again, the 2016 silver medal winners must first overtake France, who finish third in Group B with a 1-2 record and progressed on point differential. The groups meet on Wednesday at 08:00 ET (USA Network).
Astou Ndour was fantastic for Spain, with an average of 22.7 points and 10.0 rebounds. She will struggle with Sadrine Gruda, who led Les Bleues with 14.7 points and eight rebounds per game. In its search for a second Olympic medal, France also scored a goal from Gabby Williams, who averaged 10.7 points, six rebounds, 4.3 steals and four assists.
Gabby Williams scored 10 PTS and 5 REB in last night’s match for Team France!
– Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) 2 August 2021
China, Serbia start quarterfinals
The quarterfinals of the Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament begin when China and Serbia take on the court on Tuesday at 21:00 ET (NBCOlympics.com).
The winners of Group C with a 3-0 record, China, aiming for their first Olympic medal since 1992, are entering positive momentum into the quarters. As with the majority of the teams that advanced to the quarters, the big game was the key to China’s success. It was especially important that Yueru Li, the biggest big player of the 6-foot-7, who led the Chinese with 15.7 points and nine rebounds, was particularly important. Li was almost automatically offensive, converting 78.3 percent of her field goal attempts.
Serbia, who finished second in Group A with a 2-1 record, come with less optimism in the quarter-finals as it underperformed when it could barely survive in South Korea in its last showdown. However, its run-up to the 2021 EuroBasket Championship indicates that Serbia has the resilience needed to finish on the podium for the second consecutive Olympic Games. To get there, the Serbs may need more from EuroBasket’s MVP Sonja Vasic, who averaged 9.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Olympics after averaging 15.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in EuroBasket achieved.