Women’s Basketball has completed group play and the top four teams from Group A and Group B have advanced to the quarterfinals which begin today. The top-seeded team from Group A faces the fourth-seeded team from Group B, and vice versa. Second-seeded teams face the third seed from the other group. The winners move on to the semifinals, which determine the finalists and the teams that battle for the bronze medal. Australia and the United States are the only two teams that completed Group play without any losses. Most disappointing were the Brazilian hosts who failed to win a single game in front of their home fans. They finished Group play with an awful 0-5 mark and have been eliminated from the tournament.
The most interesting matchup of the day should be France vs. Canada. Both enter the semi-finals having lost two games in Group play. Canada losing to the U.S. and Spain while France lost to both Australia and Japan. Canada has played some really good basketball thus far and look to be a team that has a real shot at taking home a medal at the end of the games. Tamara Tatham and Kia Nurse have played well for Team Canada and helped them to start the tourney with a 3-0 mark. France had a pretty easy start with Turkey winning by almost 20 points but squeaked by Belarus the next day with a buzzer-beating bank shot from Endy Miyem who finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. At this point both teams should be pretty worn down physically. Tatham will have to have another stellar game to help Canada Advance. Achonwa and Ayim will have their hands full with Gruda and Yacoubou. Without veteran point guard Celine Dumerc leading the way for France, the youngsters will have to show their leadership and control the pace throughout.
Australia and the United States should both take home wins today. The U.S. women have yet to be seriously tested so far this tournament. Japan should be an interesting matchup for the women as their fast pace of play is something the women are not used to. Japan has been impressive this tournament and have ran circles around the many teams they have defeated. Seattle Storm’s forward Ramu Tokashiki has been excellent so far and will certainly look to continue that play. She is familiar with the U.S. women’s style of play and maybe she has given her team some advice on how to slow them down, or perhaps speed them up. Even still, the United States are too big and strong for the Japanese women. Tina Charles and Brittney Griner should have a field day.
Australia has been consistent throughout the tournament, Serbia has not. Although Serbia has several WNBA and high level European Club players on their squad they have not performed the way many had expected. Australia, who is ranked 2nd in the world by FIBA have shown why they are one of the best teams in the tournament. Liz Cambage and Penny Taylor have led the way for the Opals and will look to continue on to the next round. Australia should definitely finish the tournament with a medal around their necks, the question will be, which color.
Spain should be able to handle Turkey this round but someone has to be ready to slow down Lara Sanders who scored 23 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked 4 shots in their last outing. She also had a monstrous game early on against Japan where she scored 36 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Turkey’s veteran point guard Isil Alben who has a lot of international playing experience will look to lead the way for her team. For Spain, Alba Torrens has shown why so many people are yearning for her to come and play in the WNBA. She is one of the most dominant forwards in the world and has led her team throughout the tournament. I expect Spain to advance to the next round.
Tune into today’s games online or check your local listings for showings. Most women’s games have been shown on the olympic basketball channel. All times are eastern standard.