USA Avoids Upset with 86-73 Win to Reach Olympic Finals


Australia was in control for almost the entire three periods before USA unleashed a decisive rally to escape with an 86-73 win on Thursday night to advance to the finals of the 2012 London Olympics women’s basketball tournament.

Trailing for almost the entire match, USA started to find their deadly form in the third quarter as Lindsay Whalen scored six-straight points midway through the third period to spark a huge rally for the Americans.

With them down 55-54 with 4:40 left in the game, Whalen’s own 6-0 blast seemed to have awakened the sleeping giants as they started to pull away and never looked back to advance to the finals, where they will go for their fifth-straight gold medal finish.

“I'm really really proud of my team and the way we responded in the second half and how we came back,” USA head coach Geno Auriemma said after the game.

Maya Moore also had a huge share of the spotlight, playing a huge role in USA’s dramatic comeback and finished with nine points to go with three assists and two steals.

“Maya made Maya plays today,” Auriemma said on Moore, whom he also coach in the collegiate rank with Connecticut. “When you watch Maya play, you really have to admire how hard she competes on every possession, and that's probably why everywhere she goes, there are championships.”

Tina Charles was also in her usual form as she finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Diana Taurasi also had 14 markers, while Sue Bird chipped in 14 points for USA, who will face either Russia or France in the gold-medal match.

Australia, on the other hand, who was led by Lauren Jackson’s 14 points and 17 rebounds and Liz Cambage’s 19-point performance, failed to advance to the finals for the first time in the last four Olympics.

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