Gregory Shamus/POOL/AFP through Getty Photographs
TOKYO — The U.S. ladies’s basketball group has nonetheless bought it. The squad defeated Japan 86-69 in preliminary play on the Tokyo Olympics and it’s the group’s 51st straight win courting again to the 1992 Video games in Barcelona.
On Friday, the U.S. tangled with host nation Japan at Saitama Tremendous Enviornment, outdoors Tokyo. The U.S. pulled away on the finish however for some time, it was a little bit of a nail biter.
Within the first quarter, the Japanese group, coached by former Penn State participant Tom Hovasse, led 30-28. Throughout the 1976 Olympics, Japan was the one group to beat the U.S. The few followers allowed to look at from the stands in the course of the Tokyo Video games cheered them on, hoping historical past may repeat itself.
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It was to not be.
Afterwards, WNBA participant Sue Fowl informed reporters the sport had been a problem. “We have been telling you guys for years that we’re making it look straightforward,” she mentioned, “Now what you are seeing is, we informed you so, it is laborious. That is to not say we’re not headed in the correct course.”
USA’s A’ja Wilson, who scored 20 factors and grabbed 10 rebounds, agreed. “In the case of Japan, we’ve to protect the guards. In order that made us type of hold us on our toes.”
U.S. head coach Daybreak Staley mentioned Japan is a tricky group to play in opposition to. She was impressed by the Japanese gamers, who she mentioned have been calculating, disciplined and environment friendly. “I do assume they’re ready to medal right here simply due to their fashion of enjoying,” she mentioned. “Our group just isn’t used to being pressed for 40 minutes. They hold you occupied. All 5 gamers are being occupied or on the market on the ground. And I see the fashion of play that we’re simply not used to enjoying in opposition to suddenly.”
Staley mentioned the hole between the U.S. and the remainder of the world’s high groups could also be closing. She recalled that her group from South Carolina educated with Japan’s nationwide group three years in the past, “and so they simply beat us. We labored laborious and we nonetheless misplaced by 25, 30 factors. After which to see how a lot that group has progressed, I imply, they’d time, they have been collectively.”
Staley mentioned the U.S. ladies’s basketball group was grateful to play in opposition to Japan, “It is also fairly cool to win,” she mentioned.
The U.S. subsequent performs France in group play on Monday because it continues its quest for a seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal.
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