Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — At first, it looked as if the United States’ 47-game Olympic winning streak had come to an end.
On Thursday afternoon, the United States women’s team took on France in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympic games. And while many expected yet another blowout from the United States, that’s not quite how it went down.
In fact, they almost blew it.
But in the end, the United States rallied in the second half to beat France 86-67, advancing to the gold medal round.
The two teams started out neck-and-neck, with neither able to pull too far ahead from the other in the opening quarter. To close the period, though, the United States went on a 13-6 run, taking a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Untied States quickly extended their lead to 10 points at the beginning of the second quarter, and seemed poised to break ahead. France, though, quickly battled back, closing out the quarter on a 5-0 run. Heading into the locker room, the United States led by just four, up 40-36.
It was the third quarter, though, that pushed the women ahead. Quickly jumping out to an 11-point lead, the United States outscored France 25-8 in the third quarter, essentially putting the French out of reach.
France attempted a rally in the fourth quarter, combining a 10-point run and a nine-point run to get back within 13 points late. However, it wasn’t enough. Thanks to a few key stops, the United States held France off en route to a 19-point win.
Diana Taurasi led the United States with 18 points. Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles finished with 15 and 12 points, respectively, and both Brittney Griner and Seimone Augustus finished with 10 points.
The United States, though, struggled sharing the ball. As a team, they had just 15 assists, after racking up 40 assists in a single game earlier in the tournament.
Isabelle Yacoubou led France with 14 points and five rebounds. Marine Johannes was the only other to finish in double figures, ending the game with 13 points.
With the win, the United States will advance to the gold medal round and will take on Spain on Saturday.