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Serbia comes back in fourth, advances to play U.S. in semis

A 12-0 run to open the fourth and a 7-0 run to close it out propelled Serbia past China. Sonja Vasic, Ana Dabovic and Jelena Brooks were the stars.

South Korea v Serbia Women’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 9
Tina Krajisnik of Serbia celebrates.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Serbia went on a 7-0 run over the final 2:13 to defeat China 77-70 on Tuesday night at Saitama Super Arena in Japan and advance to the 2020 Olympic semifinals.

Defense was key during the run as Serbia held China to an 0-of-6 effort from the field. Li Meng missed a triple with 31 seconds remaining that would have cut China’s deficit to one. Serbia went 3-of-4 from the free throw line after that to seal the deal. Sonja Vasic (16 points, 10 rebounds) was 4-of-4 from the line during the run.

Another key run put Serbia in a position to win the game. It trailed by nine entering the fourth by outscored China 12-0 to open the frame. The 12-0 run gave Serbia a three-point lead with 6:03 to play and the game was close from that point on.

Ana Dabovic (13 points, six assists, three steals) scored six points on the fourth-quarter-opening run, including five-straight that tied the game. She made a three with 8:16 remaining and then Nevena Jovanovic turned a steal into an assist to Dabovic on a fast break 20 seconds later.

Jelena Brooks paced Serbia with 18 points while Shao Ting notched 17 to go along with six rebounds, five assists and three steals in defeat. Ting played for the Minnesota Lynx in 2019. New York Liberty center Han Xu added 15 points and seven boards for China while Li Yueru had 12 and six.

Serbia forced 23 turnovers on 14 steals and won the battle in the paint 42-26. It won despite shooting 11-of-18 at the line compared to China’s 18-of-21 effort.

Serbia and China are the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in the world, respectively. China was 3-0 in Group C and Serbia was 2-1 in Group A. Serbia will face the Unites States in the semis 40 minutes past midnight ET on Friday. It is back in the semis for the second time in a row and second time ever, having won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.