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Seventh-straight Women's Olympic Basketball Final for the USA who rack up key milestone
TOKYO (Japan) - The USA added another milestone to their rich hoops heritage as they became the first nation to rack up 10 Finals appearances in the Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament after coasting past Serbia 79-59 in the Semi-Finals.
The American will step out on court for the title game on Sunday against Japan or France for the seventh time in a row after proving to be far too powerful for the FIBA Women's EuroBasket champions.
Turning point: In reality, there wasn't one. Team USA took the lead early and once they had established a double-figure lead during the opening quarter, they had no cause to look back as Serbia struggled to make any kind of comeback.
Stats Don't Lie: The big question before the tip-off was always going to be whether Serbia could cope with the size, strength and depth of the USA frontcourt. The answer was an emphatic no since the USA scored 36 points in the paint.
Game hero(es): Breanna Stewart continued her rich vein of form and finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Center Brittney Griner also secured a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Chelsea Gray contributed a nice 14-point cameo from off the bench.
Bottom line: You could probably forgive Serbia for having one eye on the bronze medal game on Saturday because it was always only an outside shot that they could cause an upset against the overwhelming favorites. They needed a red-hot start to give themselves an opportunity and it never arrived. They couldn't slow the Americans down or push them off the block. Marina Maljkovic and Co. will now move on and try to take the third podium step for the second time in what is only their second-ever appearance at the Games.
Team USA marches on towards what at this stage looks like an inevitable gold medal. Too good and too deep, they posted another statement performance and result in the same way as they buried Australia deep. It will take a shock of epic proportions for them not to take the crown in Tokyo.
They said: "The better team won. There is not much surprise there. Even if they have had some changes, it is still very hard to win against them. They are one big step ahead of all of the rest of us. We played with them and we gave everything that we had. We had a bad first quarter and then we were able to play okay for the remaider of the game. We won a close Quarter-Finals against China but we still have one really big game to come (for the bronze medal)." Serbia head coach Marina Maljkovic
"It wasn't our best game offensively, but we made things tough for Serbia defensively. We want to help them (Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi) to win their fifth gold medal. But we are treating it like any other Olympics, focusing on each game. But we know it is going to be special. The journey for us as a team started rocky a month ago (when we lost two games in prep). But this is a process for the whole 12 member roster that we put together. I don't know if we had dropped those two games whether we would have been where we are today. We have gotten better every game since and that is a beautiul thing to see. We have highly competitive women who just want to win - it doesnt matter what it looks like. it is an incredible space for me as a coach to be in." USA head coach, Dawn Staley