USA Outlasts Feisty Japanese Challegner

The US struggled to put away their far-east challengers in the first half, but easily pulled away from Japan in the late game.

Lindsay Whalen scored 10 of an astonishing 110 USA points as the Americans romped to the semifinals of the Olympic tournament. Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

By: Jeffrey Newholm

Maya Moore scored 19 points, Diana Taurasi added another five threes and the US women’s team pulled away in the second half to defeat Japan, 110-64, in the Olympic quarterfinals Tuesday afternoon. It was a tale of two halves as Japan fought surprisingly hard for the first 20 minutes, trailing by only two at the 2:00 mark and making the Americans’ lives miserable with seven threes and consistent shooting. The game suddenly turned shortly into the third frame, however, as the Japanese women clearly ran out of energy. The US continued to focus on running a clean offense and the lead ballooned into the 30s in a short period of time. While the final margin was favorable to team USA, there were some minor causes for concern.

The most immediate issue now facing the US is the status of point guard Sue Bird. Bird  Bird suffered an apparent knee injury in the first half and didn’t return, but at this point all indications are that she was held out due to an abundance of caution. Personally, I was disappointed with the sub-par play of Brittney Griner, who looked mostly uncomfortable yesterday. With the tournament winding down, it behooves her to make an adjustment in a timely manner. On a positive note, team USA’s 61% three point shooting was again of great value. Consistent three point shooting is often difficult to find in the women’s game, and having multiple players adapt at this skill has proven to be a great boon to team USA. While the first half was tense, I thought it was overall another fine performance by the US women.

With just two games left to win in the tournament, I think team US has a clear path to Gold. Australia was the most threatening challenger to the American powerhouse and thankfully they were defeated yesterday. Japan fought hard, but had no hope of keeping up with the US machine for all 40 minutes. Team USA calmly kept playing well and capitalized brilliantly when Japan lost focus. If the US does the same for he next 80 minutes, I believe gold will be more than a tantalizing promise. It’ll be a guarantee.

You can follow me on Twitter @JeffreyNewholm and our blog @NutsandBoltsSP.

Jeffrey Newholm
About Jeffrey Newholm 201 Articles
Hey there! I’m Jeff Newholm and depending on your point of view I’m blessed or cursed that my two favorite sports are outside the limelight. Being a UW-Whitewater grad (winter 2013) my first love was d3 college football, but over the last few years I have picked up a huge interest in woman’s basketball (Uconn being my favorite team as their 90 game winning streak helped show me how good a team can get in the woman’s game). I like all the sports everyone else likes (NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA basketball and football) but those two sports are where I really have a passion.
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