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USA glide back to Final after downing gutsy Opals
ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - The USA will defend their title in the Final of the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women after taking an 82-70 win over a resilient Australia.
The Opals made life extremely difficult for the reigning world champions, but a devastating late run allowed the USA to pull clear and seal their eighth Final appearance in the last 10 editions of the competition.
Classy displays from Maya Moore on the wing and center Tina Charles were also important, with the former claiming 16 points and the latter falling one rebound short of a double-double after scoring 18 points and grabbing 9 boards.
"Every game is hard and we have never taken anything for granted since we started the tournament," said Charles.
"Australia played really hard and aggressive even though they were without Liz Cambage who was their centerpiece.
"We responded really well to them."
Australia had certainly managed to hang tough throughout the contest and while 12 points down at the interval, they worked hard to cut the gap in half near the beginning of the last period.
The outcome was far from certain when the impressive Erin Phillips scored a three-ball to get the Opals to within 61-55. The guard finished with 19 points and was a driving force throughout for her team.
However, USA found another gear and a 14-2 burst of scoring allowed them to pull clear and set up a Final showdown against Spain.
"It's going to be very tough for us again," warned Charles.
"They have a great player in Alba Torrens, so we are really looking forward to it."