With 1:29 left in the first half a layup by Ramu Tokashiki pulled Japan to within two points of the U.S. women, 48-46. Executing well offensively, the fourth-place team in Pool A was putting up far greater of a fight than anyone anticipated. But Geno Auriemma’s team grabbed control of the game with an 8-0 run to end the first half, and a dominant second half on both ends of the floor resulted in a 110-64 victory for the Americans.
Next up for the U.S., which has now won 47 straight games in Olympic competition, will be France in Thursday’s semifinals. In the final game of the night, France defeated Canada 68-63.
Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore scored 19 points apiece to lead the way for the U.S., which limited Japan to just 18 second-half points. In addition to being far more aggressive defensively, with Brittney Griner serving as a deterrent around the basket with three blocked shots (changing other shots, as well), the U.S. was also more patient offensively. Instead of looking for the first available look and at at times settling in the first half, the U.S. was clinical offensively in the final 20 minutes.
Also reaching double figures were Angel McCoughtry (13 points), Elena Delle Donne (11) and Sylvia Fowles (ten), with Griner (seven rebounds), Delle Donne, Fowles and Charles (six rebounds apiece) all grabbing at least six rebounds on the night. Tokashiki led Japan in scoring with 14 points, with Mika Kurihara and Sanae Motokawa adding 12 apiece.