Rui Machida dished out an Olympic-single-game-record 18 assists and her Japan team came back from down 22-14 after one to win 87-71 over France on Friday morning at Saitama Super Arena and advance to play the United States in the gold medal game of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Machida had already tied the previous record-holder, American Teresa Edwards, with 15 assists on Monday against Nigeria. Edwards accomplished the feat in 1996. The WNBA single-game assists record is also 18, set by Courtney Vandersloot of the Chicago Sky on Aug. 31, 2020.
Machida was held scoreless against Nigeria, but has scored at least seven points in every other game at the Olympics, including 10 in the quarterfinals against Belgium and nine on Friday. She has recorded at least 11 assists in each game, with an average of 13.8.
Against France, Japan won the second quarter 27-12 and the third quarter 27-16. Himawari Akaho notched 17 points and seven rebounds for the winners while teammate Yuki Miyazawa was good for 14 and seven.
Sandrine Gruda led France with 18 points, while Los Angeles Spark Gabby Williams grabbed eight boards and handed out seven assists.
Japan upset France 74-70 in Group play and has continued its feel-good run all the way to its first Olympic medal ever.