Saitama (Japan) (AFP)
Breanna Stewart scored 23 points as the United States crushed Australia on Wednesday to stage a women’s Olympic basketball semi-final against Serbia as they approach a seventh straight title.
Brittney Griner added 15 more points and A’ja Wilson 10 in the 79-55 rout against the world second team.
They will face Serbia on Friday after European champions and bronze medalists Rio beat China 77-70.
Hosts Japan face Belgium and France take on Spain in the other eight clashes later Wednesday.
It has never been easy for Australia to defeat the United States, which has now won 53 Olympics in a row.
The incredible streak began with the bronze medal winner in 1992 and includes a record-breaking six consecutive gold medals and four wins in Tokyo.
The United States is so dominant that it has won eight of the last nine Olympic titles, with the only flaws being a silver medal behind the Soviet Union in the inaugural tournament in 1976 and bronze in 1992.
The only team that has consistently moved closer to the United States this century has been Australia, who have played three gold medal games against them.
But they never entered the contest at the Saitama Super Arena.
Led by WNBA stars Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles, the United States set the tone with a 15-0 streak in a first quarter in which Australia failed. as four of the 14 placement attempts.
The Opals’ shooting problems continued into the second term as the United States galloped to a 48-27 lead halfway through, Seattle Storm forward Stewart scoring 20.
It exploded to 68-39 before the home stretch and there was no way Australia could turn it back.
Earlier, imposing striker Jelena Brooks scored 18 points to help Serbia pass China.
Sonja Vasic added 16 and Ana Dabovic scored 13 to reserve their second Olympic semi-final in their second participation only.
“We never give up and we play the hardest when we’re down. We have shown today that we can find energy, ”said Dabovic.
“It’s a big success for a small country. Second time at the Olympics for Serbia, second time in the semi-finals. “
Serbia qualified for their first Games in Rio in 2016, where they beat Australia by two points in the quarterfinals but succumbed to Spain in the semi-finals, before beating France to take bronze.
Little separated the two teams in the opening stages in Tokyo, with Brook’s 14 points helping Serbia secure a slim 35-33 advantage halfway through.
China scored 25 points to 14 in the third quarter to build up a nine-point buffer before the home stretch, before Serbia began an unanswered 12-point streak to catch up.
It was tied before the final minutes until personal fouls by a desperate China saw Vasic and Dabovic shoot free throws to win the game.
© 2021 AFP