CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The United States is once again going for gold in women's basketball after Team USA defeated Serbia 79-59 in the semifinals early Friday.
Brittney Griner had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Americans, who are looking to be the first team to win seven consecutive gold medals, tying the U.S. men's team that accomplished the feat from 1936-68. A gold would also give Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi five gold medals apiece, the most ever by a basketball player in the Olympics.
The U.S. will face either France or Japan in Sunday's championship game.
Neither team could really get much going for the first few minutes of the second quarter as there were more missed shots and turnovers than points. Serbia cut the deficit to nine points behind Yvonne Anderson, who played at Texas and became a Serbian naturalized citizen last year to play in the Olympics. She finished with a team-high 15 points.
The U.S. scored the next nine points, a run started by A'ja Wilson's three-point play and led 41-23 at the half. The lead ballooned to 23 points in the third quarter before the Serbia reserves started pressing and cut the deficit to 14 late in the period. The Americans scored the final five points to put the game away.
Team USA is led by South Carolina native A'ja Wilson and head coach Dawn Staley. Wilson won an NCAA national championship at the University of South Carolina in 2017. She was drafted No. 1 overall by the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces in 2018, where she won rookie of the year and the league's MVP award in 2020.
Staley has led South Carolina to three NCAA Final Fours and the 2017 NCAA Championship. As a player, Staley won three Olympic gold medals with the United States. She is undefeated as the head coach of Team USA.
The U.S. is still in contention to win gold in both men's and women's basketball, keeping their streak alive for what would be the fourth consecutive Olympics. The women have won six straight gold medals and 53 straight games in Olympic competition.