Maya Moore

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Maya Moore withdraws from Olympic consideration

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Maya Moore, the U.S. second-leading scorer at the Rio Olympics, withdrew her name from Tokyo Olympic consideration and will skip a second straight WNBA season.

Moore is on hiatus from competitive basketball to focus on criminal justice reform. Specifically, the case of a man who was sentenced to 50 years in prison but Moore believes is innocent, according to The New York Times.

USA Basketball confirmed Wednesday’s Times report that Moore took her name out of consideration for the 12-player Tokyo Olympic team, which is expected to be named in late spring or early summer.

“We are going to miss Maya tremendously, but we also respect her decision,” U.S. women’s national team director Carol Callan said, according to the report. “A player of Maya’s ability does not walk away from the gym lightly. Everyone feels it. The thing that makes her so special is her approach, her dedication, which has always been contagious for our team.”

Moore last played for the U.S. in major competition at the Rio Olympics. She was one of the leaders on a team that earned a sixth straight gold medal. Moore started all eight games and averaged 12 points per game, second on the team behind fellow former University of Connecticut star Diana Taurasi.

Breanna Stewart, another former UConn standout, entered the starting lineup at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Moore’s absence and earned tournament MVP. Stewart is returning after missing the entire 2019 WNBA season with an Achilles tear.

Moore also started five games at the 2012 London Olympics as the team’s youngest player.

Moore, 30, said “this is not the time” to retire, according to the Times, but it’s unknown when she might return to the national team or to the WNBA, where she won four titles and an MVP with the Minnesota Lynx from 2011-18.

“I got to experience the best of my craft, and I did that multiple times,” Moore said, according to the report. “There is nothing more I wish I could experience.”

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U.S. women beat Spain, win sixth straight Olympic gold medal

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Spain was able to hang with the U.S. women’s basketball team for just over a quarter, but from the second period on Geno Auriemma’s team was in full control. Winning by the final score of 101-72, the Americans have now won six straight Olympic gold medals in women’s basketball.

And they haven’t lost a game in Olympic competition since the semifinals of the 1992 Summer Olympics, with the winning streak now up to 49 consecutive games.

WATCH: Team USA wins women’s basketball gold again

Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen led a balanced offensive attack with 17 points apiece, with Maya Moore adding 14 points, Breanna Stewart 11 and Elena Delle Donne ten. Taurasi hit five three-pointers on the day, finishing the tournament with an Olympic-record 33 made three-pointers.

Taurasi: USA’s gold more than just a medal

Shooting 59 percent from the field and 9-for-15 from three, the U.S. found its rhythm late in the the first period and didn’t look back. Spain didn’t have the answers on either end of the floor in the second half, trailing by as much as 31 in the fourth quarter.

Spain, which was guaranteed of its first Olympic medal in women’s basketball, was led offensively by Alba Torrens who scored a game-high 18 points. Serbia took bronze in the competition with a 70-63 win over France earlier Saturday.

WATCH LIVE: U.S. women’s basketball faces France in semifinal round

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One step away from playing for their sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal, the U.S. women meet France in the second semifinal of the day. The two nations met in the gold medal game of the last Summer Olympics, with the Americans rolling to an 86-50 victory in London.

While the U.S. was dominant in the second half of their win over Japan in the quarterfinals, France eliminated Canada in a hard-fought game by the final score of 68-63. Sandrine Gruda led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points, and balance has been the key for France in Rio. They’re going to have to be even better than they have been defensively if they’re to dethrone Diana Taurasi and company however, as the U.S. has scored more than 100 points in five of their six games in Rio.

WATCH LIVE: Women’s basketball semifinal, U.S. vs. France — 6 p.m. Eastern

The winner gets either Spain or Serbia in Saturday’s gold medal game.