USA Basketball 2012: US women win fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

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Aug 11, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Team USA poses with their gold medals after defeating France in the women's basketball gold medal game in the London 2012 Olympic Game. (Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

 

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FINAL

 USA 

20

17

26

23

86

 France

15

10

12

13

50

Leaders

USA – Candace Parker. 21 pts, 2 ast, 11 reb.

France- Sandrine Gruda. 12 pts, 3 ast, 3 reb.

 

 

 

 

After defeating the Australians 86-73 in the semifinals, Team USA just had one opponent left on their road to victory. The French. It was the gold medal match for American women’s team. They will go up against the French who surprisingly shocked a lot of people coming this far in the tournament.

This is the French’s 2nd Olympics ever-in women’s basketball and regardless of the outcome, it would be their first medal. Prior to the tournament, the French were 8th in the world, with the US being 1st. As well this is Team’s USA’s 9th tournament for the women, since 1976 when women’s basketball became an Olympic sport.

Onto the 1st quarter of the game and Sandrine Gruda hits the jumper getting the first points for France. She was a key player keeping the French in this game. Then here comes Diana Taurasi, as she hits a 3 getting the first points for Team USA. At the beginning, both teams were tight offensively however Team USA was forcing, rushing France to play faster than usual, making the French team show impulsive shots.

Throughout this tournament, Team USA was very unselfish. They had great ball movement, sharing the ball around looking for the open player. Then suddenly the French were able to pull through as they had their first lead at the 3:40 mark leading 13-11. The French seemed to mimic the Americans as they too did a good job looking for the open player, but USA had good defense on them forcing turnovers and steals. Team USA put a lot of pressure on France. Interchangeable part, while the Americans at times had the inability to guard the French. Still, team USA was too quick with their hands, rebounding, passing and stealing.

At the end of 1 quarter, Team USA shot 8 of 21 field goals at 38%, 1 3-pointer, shot 3 of 4 free throws, had 3 steals, 12 rebounds, 1 turnover and 6 points from turnovers. The French weren’t doing as bad. They were shooting 6 for 16 field goals at 37%, 1 of 3 3-point attempts at 33%, 2 for 2 free throws, 1 steal, 10 rebounds, and 5 turnovers. Looking at those statistics, and its clear turnovers were costing them.

We go on to the 2nd quarter, and at the beginning of it, Elodie Godin gets a turnover but the French come back with the steal. The game would end up being a 3-point game as the score was 22-19 at the 8-minute mark.

USA’s Diana Taurasi would dribble the ball down the court only to have it stolen by France’s Celine Duermc. Dumerc as you may not know was asked to play in the WNBA but she declined as she was making a bigger salary playing in Europe. Again, the US wants to fasten the past and rush the French. The US was shooting 11 for 30 field goals at the 3:50 mark. Then here comes Candace Parker working inside the getting the bucket. She was just heating up for team USA. Second shot attempts were working in favor of Team US as they kept getting the baskets.

Halftime and the score was 37-25. France’s top player Dumerc only at 4 points at this point and the reason was because Team USA was defending her, putting a lot of pressure to throw the ball away. At the end of the 2nd, USA was shooting 15 for 38 field goals at 39%, 1 for 5 3 pointers at 20%, 6 of 8 free throws, 3 steals, 27 rebounds, 6 turnovers and 12 points from turnovers. The French were shooting 9 for 32 field goals at 28%, 1 for 6 3 pointers at 16%, 6 for 7 free throws at 85%, 6 steals, 17 rebounds, 9 turnovers, and 2 points from turnovers. Just looking at those stats and again turnovers were hurting the French while rebounds were a big problem as the Americans had 27 allowing those second chance points.

Onto the 3rd quarter now and it something just went wrong as the USA took it from here and were completely dominating. France was trying to slow the game down to there pace. Team USA was smarter and more athletic inside the paint and knew when to take the charges. Gruda had 10 points and shot 5 of 8 for France at the 6:30 mark while team USA was shooting 60% in this quarter at the 6:30 mark. France still struggling with turnovers had 13 while USA had 6 and now USA lead 47-32 at the 6:15 mark.

Sue Bird would come rushing in hitting a 3. She averages 4 points a game, but in this game she already had 9 shooting 4 of 6 field goals at the 5:50 mark. Suddenly, it becomes a 20-point game at the 5-minute mark as team USA lead 52-32.

An unfortunate injury occurs as Endene Miyem twisted her ankle at the 3:37 mark. That’ll be the last we’ll see of her in this game. With the big American lead, the French scoring has gone anemic, perhaps worse, just pathetic. Angel McCoughtry adds to the lead with a long 3. She has 7 points shooting 3 of 7 field goals. It’s fair to say that this game got out of hand quickly. USA was in command. At the 40% mark Durmec was still nowhere to be found as she was shooting 2 of 9 from the field, less than 15%.

End of the quarter and the Americans were leading 63-37. The Americans were shooting alright as they shot 3 of 8 at 37% for 3-pointers, 12 of 16 free throws at 75%, 5 steals, 38 rebounds and 23 points from turnovers. The French however were shooting 1 of 8 3-pointers at 12%, 10 of 13 free throws at 76%, 7 steals, 29 rebounds, 16 turnovers and 4 points from turnovers.

Finally we go onto the last and final quarter. With the big lead the Americans were able to have its evident, crystal clear as to whom the victor of this game would be. Candace Parker was spectacular in this game as she had 21 points, shooting 10 for 14 field goals, with 11 rebounds. The French bigs were just unable to stop Parker. At this point the French appeared too given up accepting 2nd place as it turned into a USA game. The final score was 86-50. The Americans shot 34 of 72 field goals at 47%, 3 of 8 3-pointers at 37%, 15 of 22 free throws at 68%, had 8 steals, 46 rebounds, 11 turnovers and 27 points from turnovers. The French shot 18 of 64 field goals at 28%, 2 of 11 3-pointers at 18%, 12 of 15 free throws at 80%, had 9 steals, 38 rebounds, 21 turnovers and 9 points from turnovers.

At the end of the game, the French were congratulating the Americans. Both teams were receiving standing ovations from the crowds especially the French for making it this far in the tournament. The French were the most unlikely team getting through the moments. The graph below shows the current medal count for USA, France and Australia

 USA

5th consecutive Olympic goal medal.

USA now has 7 medals.

Silver at 1976 Montreal, gold at 1984 Los Angeles, gold at 1988 Seoul, bronze at 1992 Barcelona, gold at 1996 Atlanta, gold at 2000 Sydney, gold at 2004 Athens, gold at 2008 Beijing and gold at 2012 London.

 France

1st silver medal.

1st medal and 2nd Olympic appearance.

 Australia

2nd bronze medal.

Australia now has 5 medals. Bronze at 1996 Atlanta, silver at 2000 Sydney, silver at 2004 Athens, silver at 2008 Beijing and bronze at 2012 London.

All women’s teams in this tournament worked hard but only the Americans and French will go home with a medal alongside the Australians who will be going home with the bronze. This marks the conclusion of the women’s basketball tournament at the 2012 London Olympics.

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