The U.S. had little trouble putting away the Australian Opals 79-55 in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Summer Olympics on Wednesday. The win marked 53 straight victories from the USA in Olympic competition dating from the
1992 bronze medal game.
Led by Breanna Stewart, Team USA began a dominant performance early in the first quarter. Stewart put up seven points within the first five minutes and was the catalyst in a 17-0 run that had the U.S. finish the quarter with a 26-12 advantage.
The Opals performed better in the second quarter with a valiant effort spurred by point guard Leilani Mitchell and help from young phenom forward Ezi Magbegor. Still, it was not enough to make significant inroads against a bigger, taller, and all-around more talented U.S. squad.
Stewart reached 20 points with 1:07 left in the second quarter, the only player at that point in double figures. At the half, the U.S. enjoyed a 48-27 lead. The Aussies shot 31% (10-32) from the field compared to 55% (17-31) by the USA in the first twenty minutes.
Australia’s attempts at a comeback in the second half were futile as other players stepped up to the plate for the USA, including A’ja Wilson, Brittney Griner, and Chelsea Gray. The U.S. benefitted from the laser-like precision of Gray’s passes as she finished the game with a team-high eight assists to go along with seven points. The USA outpaced Australia 20-12 in the third quarter and 16-11 in the last period.
Stewart led the pace with a total of 23 points plus five rebounds. Griner added 15 points plus eight rebounds, and Wilson contributed 10 points plus four rebounds.
Mitchell finished with 14 points and six assists for the Aussies. Cayla George was the only other Opal in double figures with 11 plus seven rebounds.
The U.S. continues play in the semifinals, facing Serbia at 9:40 p.m. PT. Australia heads home without a medal.
The Serbs defeated China 77-70 to earn a place in the semifinals.
Team Stats Comparison