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Griner leads US to gold medal game with 79-59 win vs Serbia – News-Herald

Shortly after the U.S. women defeated Serbia to reach the Olympic gold medal game, members of the Japanese honor guard began training for the medal ceremony.
The US is already familiar with this exercise.
Brittney Griner had 15 points and 12 rebounds to help the Americans beat the Serbs 79-59 on Friday to advance to the title game.
“This is exactly where we want to be,” said Breanna Stewart, who also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. “Everything is at stake. We’ll do everything we can to make sure we get home with a gold. “
The Americans are now one win away from a seventh consecutive gold medal comparable to the US men’s team, which won seven consecutive Olympic titles from 1936 to 1968.
It would also earn Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi five gold medals – most of them ever from a basketball player in the Olympics. The Americans face Japan on Sunday. The teams played in the preliminary round and the US won 86-69. Japan defeated France in the semi-finals 87:71, securing the host country its first medal in women’s basketball.
“I think everyone here wants to win gold for themselves, for us, for everyone who started this series that brought us here,” said Griner. “You know, there are a lot of different reasons why we want to win this gold medal. I think you will see really good basketball at the gold medal game. “
The US got a shock when Taurasi left the game in the middle of the third quarter, grimacing and appearing to rub their left hip after a collision. U.S. trainer Ed Ryan spoke to Taurasi when she went to the bench and she didn’t come back. Taurasi missed the three exhibition games in Las Vegas with a hip pointer, but appeared to be moving without a problem during the time outs.
“Yeah, I’ve been struggling with this hip thing for a while, so it’s just a little annoying,” Taurasi said. “It’s good.”
The United States, who defeated both France and Japan in the game of billiards, have won 54 consecutive Olympic Games that now date back to the 1992 Barcelona semifinals.
The Americans got off to another strong start for the second game in a row. 4-3 behind, they methodically went on a 20-4 run to take control with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. Griner had four points in possession. She struck two free throws after a foul was upgraded to unsportsmanlike, then scored a cut to the basket after a spot-on pass from Stewart and the Americans led 25-12 after one.
In the first minutes of the second quarter, neither team could really move much, as there were more misses and ball losses than points. Serbia cut the gap to nine points behind Yvonne Anderson, who played in Texas and became a Serbian citizen last year to compete in the Olympics. She finished with a team high of 15 points.
The USA scored the next nine points, a run that started with A’ja Wilson’s three-point game and led 41:23 at halftime. The lead rose to 23 points at the start of the third quarter before Serbian reserves put pressure on them, reducing the gap to 14 towards the end of the period. The Americans scored the last five points to end the game.
Serbia rested its starters for most of the second half with the bronze medal game about 24 hours away. The country won bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio.
“If you have one last chance for a medal, it will definitely be whoever wants more, who will be more hungry,” said Serbia’s national coach Marina Maljkovic.
Serbia was only able to warm up 25 minutes before the game because traffic delayed the team’s arrival and NBC Spydercam hovering over the field broke its cable about 40 minutes before the tip.
“It was definitely too early to have these problems,” said Anderson. “What can you do? We’re an hour away and we’re getting into traffic. We tried to get out and there were camera problems. In the end, you have to take what you get. We were already facing an uphill battle.”
Serbia shot just 30% out of the field – including 15 of its 19 3-point attempts.

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