Becky Hammon's second half was just what Russia needed to best Canada in the first day of Olympic action. (Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
The first day of Olympic competition from the Basketball Arena in London is over. There were wire-to-wire and come-from-behind wins to be seen. The champs were on upset alert for three quarters, and the Aussies demonstrated their desire to contend for the gold as they beat the home team.
Here's a look at the results and standings:
China 66, Czech Republic 57
China never trailed to start out the Games with a win. The team got four double-digit scorers that accounted for nearly 73% of the Chinese offense (48-of-66 total points), led by 16 points by Zengyu Ma. Lijie Miao finished with a near double-double of 12 points and eight assists in the win. Both teams struggled with their shot, each shooting under 40% in the contest. Despite the Czechs edging out the Chinese on battle of the boards, 44-40, the team couldn't overcome their 33% shooting.Offensively, the Czech Republic was led by Eva Viteckova and Katerina Elhotova who went for 14 and 13 points, respectively. Viteckova was 5-of-14 from the field.
This was Canada's game to win, but it turned into Becky Hammon's game to close out. The Canadians entered the final quarter leading 43-37 and even extended the lead to 50-40 on a Courtnay Pilypaitis 3-pointer with 6:33 to play. But the Russians had a final 18-3 kick left in the tank, to overwhelm Canada in the closing minutes. Hammon, Russia's leading scorer, contributed 10 of her 14 points in the second half, including the go-ahead basket with 2:03 to play. Canada's Kim Smith finished as the game's high-scorer with 20 points and 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc in the loss.
Turkey cruised to the win after they set the tone in their game against Angola with a 21-8 first quarter. Turkey posted four double-digit scoring efforts, and benefited from 25 bench points, including 10 from Quanitra Hollingsworth. Along with their solid 45% shooting percentage, Turkey owned a 45-32 advantage on the glass and held Angola captain Nacissela Mauricio to 11 points and three rebounds in 27 minutes.
United States 81, Croatia 56
Just a week ago, the United States women pounded Croatia (and I mean pounded). Today, Croatia nearly pulled off a shocker by way of 3-pointers and three quarters, including a 14-0 run in the first half. Of course, lucky for the Americans the game goes for four periods and the U.S. dominated in the last quarter to pull away for an 81-56 win. Angel McCoughtry's insertion in the third quarter proved to be the difference, as her 13 points in 11 minutes sparked the Americans to the victory. When she entered the game with 4:48 to play in the third quarter the U.S. maintained a slim 39-36 lead. She added eight points in the quarter to give the team some breathing room heading into the final quarter. The fourth was the domination that many expected to see from the Americans, as they closed out the game outscoring Croatia 28-9 in the final period.
The U.S. again had a fairly balanced scoring effort once they got it going, and every player that played (Asjha Jones did not) scored at least two points and picked up at least one rebound. Tina Charles and Candace Parker both finished with double-doubles, with Charles contributing a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds and Parker adding 11 points and 13 boards. Both women also posted two blocks apiece. Croatia was led by 22 points from Jelena Ivezic and Marija Vrsaljko's 19 points. The pair went 17-of-28 from the field, while the rest of the team was just 6-of-41.
The fourth quarter proved to be the demise of Brazil in their opening game against France. After hanging tough (without Izi) through three quarters, Brazil trailed 52-49. But a nine-point final period coupled with 33% shooting for the game was too much to overcome. Erika de Souza led Brazil in the loss with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting but also committed six turnovers. Celine Dumerc finished as the game's leading scorer for France with 23 points, five assists and four steals. Interestingly, no one else reached double-digit scoring for the French in the win, where they hit an impressive 50% of their shots from the field.
Australia 74, Great Britain 58
Great Britain's fans were loud and proud, but they couldn't will their team to their first Olympic win in their first Olympic women's basketball game. Instead, Lauren Jackson and Co. took control in the second quarter and maintained throughout the final three quarters to come away with the 74-58 victory. At halftime, Australia was shooting 50% and owned a 39-26 lead, compared to Great Britain's 18% shooting from the field. Lauren Jackson was busy in the first half, going 5-of-9 in the first and finishing up 6-of-11 and the game's leading scorer with 18 points in just under 21 minutes. Johanna Leedham was the go-to gal for the Brits, but she had a rough outing, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting in the loss. Rachael Vanderwal, a Canadian living in Ireland (her mother's home country) and playing for GB, was a bright spot in the Brits' offense, adding 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
|Group A:||Group B:|
1. United States (1-0)
1. Australia (1-0)
Group play continues on Monday, July 30, with every team in action again. You can get all the information on the schedule, scores and results on the London 2012 women's basketball page.