August 16, 2016, 8:33 pm
The women’s medal round kicked off and delivered a pair of highly entertaining games. Team USA played a close first half but eventually dismantled Team Japan. We had some favorites struggle and a buzzer beater, so the men’s tournament will definitely have some expectations to live up to in terms of excitement. A lot of people have been sleeping on the international women’s game but there’s fun to be had, so get to it.
Serbia 73 vs. Australia 71
Spain 64 vs. Turkey 62
USA 110 vs. Japan 64
Canada vs. France
Serbia 73 vs. Australia 71
The first game of the women’s medal round delivered a big upset as fourth seeded Serbia took down the previously-undefeated Australians. This was a fun back-and-forth game that really never opened up. Australia lead by eight in the third quarter but Serbia quickly ripped off a 7-0 run to bring the score close again. Neither team could open up a double digit lead, and Serbia ratcheted up the defensive intensity to pull off the victory.
Turnovers were huge in this game- Australia committed 26 to Serbia’s 9, essentially allowing Serbia to hang around despite shooting just 37.1% on the day. Beyond that, Australia looked to be in good shape by virtue of having Elizabeth Cambage on their team. Cambage (#8) was simply unstoppable, finishing with a massive 29 points and 11 rebounds. She hit seven of her 11 field goals in the fourth quarter and could not be stopped on either end of the floor. On defense, she basically made driving to the paint a non-option while she fought over and through double teams for tough layups that were made to look easy. It’s a shame we won’t get to see Cambage battle Brittney Griner and company, but Australia shot themselves in the foot with all of the errors.
It wasn’t a one-woman show for Australia but Cambage’s presence completely changed the flow of the game. Australia becomes infinitely easier to defend when she’s off the floor and can spread the floor on offense much better by demanding double teams anywhere near the paint. Besides Cambage, Serbia had a decent size advantage and did well to exploit it whenever they could; they actually gathered more offensive rebounds than the Australians (17-15) and went to work whenever Cambage left the floor. Though they were outrebounded overall 46-34, Serbia did well to earn themselves extra shots today; they needed each one.
Serbia has been carried by Jelena Milvanovic (#9) and Sonja Petrovic (#5) for most of the tournament but really needed some support from a third teammate to have hopes of advancing. Ana Dabovic (#14) stepped up with 24 points, including a big second quarter that kept Serbia from falling too far behind when their defense struggled to stop Australia’s ball movement.
Milovanovic carried on with her strong play in Rio, scoring 17 points and hitting all 5 of her field goals in the second half with four of those coming in the fourth quarter. Petrovic struggled with her shot (5-18), perhaps as a result of a shoulder injury she sustained in the first half. She managed to contribute regardless, finishing with a 13-4-5 line to go with 2 steals. The underdog Serbians will take on the winner of Spain vs. Turkey in the semifinals.
Serbia Australia Points A. Dabovic 24
Mitchell / Phillips 10
Rebounds Petrovic/Cado/Page 4
A. Dabovic/Milovanovic 2
Assists Petrovic 5
A. Dabovic 3
Jarry / Phillips 4
- Serbia did a good job of backing down smaller guards and kicking for open jumpers when defenders cheated over to help
- Serbia struggled to finish at the rim in Q1; just 9-20 in the restricted area all game, and 4-5 came in Q4
- Australia making quick cuts to the hoop off PnR, no third defender comes to help and it’s easy layups
- Rachel Jarry (#10) with a big Q2; 3 threes and showed a nice quick release
- Smart of Serbia to go smaller and force Cambage to move more; they can’t beat her on the glass with any lineup configuration
- Petrovic went down clutching her shoulder in Q2, may explain the poor shooting
- Serbia with much improved defense in the third; crisp rotations and some good reads; so much easier to defend Australia when Cambage is out