Olympic basketball rolls on and the United States women got another win. This time, it was against the host country Japan. Head coach and American Tom Hovasse led the Japanese squad against the US. Team USA is now 2-0 with one preliminary game left to go.
The Americans got out to a 10-2 start. Japan showed some fight to cut down on the lead. Diana Taurasi made her presence felt with two early three pointers. The Japanese were dealing from distance and kept the first quarter close. Sue Bird could not get going, but Sylvia Fowles had a great block to keep the Japanese from taking the lead. However, Japan eventually did grab the lead and had the advantage after one 30-28 due to USA defensive miscues.
Momentum stalled for both sides at the start of the second. Everyone from Japan was contributing and there were no major negative plays from them. Team USA did not look like themselves. The playing style of Japan was playing small ball and shooting the three . The Americans tried to use size to their advantage with the bigs. A timeout was called with the US up 43-36. Sue Bird got wacked in the Jaw but appeared to be ok. Brianna Stewart showed amazing effort to get back on defense to deny the layup just like Fowles did earlier. Bird still struggled shooting. Both teams got cold at the end of the quarter, but team USA led 49-40 at the break.
Team Japan was able to score multiple times a few minutes into the third. They got on a 7-0 run while the US remained ice cold. Japan closed the gap again while the US struggled to find their footing. The 9-1 by Japan raised a lot of eye brows, but A’ja Wilson said that’s enough of that. Japan lost the shooting touch but still swarmed on defense. The United States had the lead 65-53 after three.
The fourth started with back-and-forth defense and missed chances. The scoring was slow, but the US had most of it as they tried to pull away. Bird finally got a shot from way back to fall her way. Japan put up a great fight and a valiant effort, but they eventually just ran out of gas. The US Olympic basketball team took the win 86-69.
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