For the second consecutive game the U.S. women’s basketball team played a first half tighter than many anticipated. And for the second straight game, Geno Auriemma’s team used stifling defense to turn a close game into a comfortable victory.
The U.S. limited France to just eight points in the third quarter, outscoring them by 17 points on their way to the 86-67 victory. As a result they’ll play for a sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal Saturday, with Spain being the opposition. Diana Taurasi led five Americans in double figures with 18 points, with the team also being better offensively in the second half as they played without starting point guard Sue Bird.
With Bird missing the game with a sprained knee suffered in their quarterfinal win over Japan, the U.S. had just four assists in the first half as they took a 40-36 lead into the halftime break. There was better ball movement in the second half, which combined with improved defense led to a 48th consecutive victory in Olympic competition.
The U.S. shot just 4-for-15 from beyond the arc with Taurasi, who has now made a record 28 three-pointers in these Olympics, responsible for three of the makes. But overall the Americans managed to shoot 49 percent from the field, with a stronger commitment to getting the ball inside in the second stanza resulting in greater offensive productivity.
Isabelle Yacoubou led France, which will play Serbia for the bronze medal Saturday, with 14 points and Marine Johannes added 13.
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.