USA (3-0) vs. Australia (1-2) – Quarterfinals
- Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2021
- Time: 9:40PM PST – 11:40PM CST – 12:40PM EST
- Place: Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan
- TV: USA Network | USAOlympics.com
Women’s basketball as it applies to Team USA is similar to the men in that the days of domination are generally overdue to player association across the globe with the WNBA and international basketball.
While the USA does still have its 52-game winning streak intact, the squad is having to push harder to capture wins as we saw in the last two meetings where it defeated France, 93-82 on Sunday, after dealing Japan an 86-69 setback.
Team Australia had to take a 96-69 win over Puerto Rico to continue to play in the Olympics. The Opals were upset with a call that allowed China to post a 76-74 win. Perception is almost everything and seeing a 1-2 instead of a 2-1 beside of Australia makes a difference until you see the closeness of the loss
While on July 16:
The Aussies took a 70-67 upset win over Team USA back on July 16 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Americans never found their offensive game as the Opals defended at a high level in allowing Team USA to make only 25-of-67 shots. The biggest issue was the three-point game as the United States made only 2-of-18 shots from behind the arc.
The Opals made 10 triples and were led by 17 points from Eziyoda Magbegor while Rebecca Allen netted 11 and Stephanie Talbot scored 10.
Breanna Stewart had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Team USA while A’ja Wilson posted 12 points.
Last Time Out
A’Ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart were at it again on Sunday night as the duo combined for 39 points. (22 and 17, respectively) to pace the American roundballers to a 93-82 win over France.
France actually led 72-71 early in the fourth quarter before Team USA went on a game-deciding 12-2 run, fueled by six points from Wilson, to take an 83-74 lead with 5:45 remaining.
The French-led 22-19 after the first quarter as this amounted to the third straight game where Team USA was behind after the first quarter.
Marianna Tolo scored 26 points and grabbed 17 boards as Australia defeated Puerto Rico, 96-69, to pull into the quarterfinals against Team USA.
The Opals, who are ranked second in the world, had to defeat Puerto Rico by at least 24 points to win the tiebreaker which sent them into the tournament’s final eight.
Cayla George scored 19 points for the Australians while Jenna O’Hea added 15.
Australia led only 45-44 at halftime before outscoring Puerto Rico, 23-8, in the third quarter.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|USA||-15.5 (-115)||-2000||O 160 (-115)|
|Australia||+15.5 (-115)||+850||U 160 (-115)|
*Odds Courtesy of BetUS Sportsbook
Team USA coach Dawn Staley has an eclectic group of ballers and with the experience of Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who leads the team with 7.7 assists, there are enough intangibles on this team to easily extend this winning streak to 55 and net yet another gold medal. Team USA’s last Olympics loss was in 1992.
In averaging 86.7 points per game while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor, the Americans are once again proving that their offense is melding together while scoring at that output, and playing consistently on the defensive end of the floor is going to make them almost an impossible out.
The number that they want to see climb is made threes as they have 23 (7.7 per game) and have shot at a clip of 37.7 percent. However, with the size in the paint with A’ja Wilson, Britney Griner, and Sylvia Fowles, they will not lapse into just a three-ball oriented offense, so that number may be okay in defining how this team will play.
Wilson and Stewart look like almost an undefendable one-two punch as Wilson (20.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg) has dominated the paint in all three of the qualifying games. Stewart (13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds) has a dynamic inside-outside game as she has made 37.5 percent of her threes.
From a chemistry standpoint, the biggest thing Team USA needs to fix is its ball-handling as the Americans came into the game with France averaging 21 per game, but turned it over only 12 times in that latest win and are not still at a paltry 18.0 turnovers per outing.
The plight of the Aussies may have been different due to a controversial call in their 76-74 loss to China in game two of the pool play scenario.
After Jenna O’Hea hit a pair of triples within 10 seconds to tie the game at 74, a late foul call on Cayla George put Chinese star Li Yueru on the line and she drained a pair of fouls shots for the win.
The Australian attack is very diversified as Ezi Magbegor leads 15.0 ppg while shooting 59.4 percent from the floor. She is flanked by Cayla George (13.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who makes 41.2 percent of her triples while Marianna Tolo (13.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is shooting 58.3 percent from inside the arc.
Australia averages 80.0 points per game while making 35.8 percent of their threes. They will look to win this game with their guards on the perimeter and off the dribble.