A classic tale of David versus Goliath awaits us with the Olympics women’s basketball final between host Japan and the Team USA juggernaut. As expected. The U.S. women’s basketball team is a massive online betting favorite to win with the points set at 18.5. Even if they already beat Japan 86-69 in the Group Stage, this is still a lofty number.
The USA is angling for its seventh straight gold medal. They opened as overwhelming favorites to win it at -1700 per the Olympic odds. Meanwhile, the Japanese women’s basketball team has already made history by clinching its first Olympic medal. They opened at +8000 to win the gold so, win or lose, they have made their country proud.
Women’s Basketball Medal Games
Japan vs USA (10:30 p.m.) – Gold Medal Game
Does Japan have a shot here? Well, the nation is the only one that has a win against Team USA in international competition (if we’re not excluding the Soviet Union and the Unified Team). Sure, Japan got blown out by 17 points in the Group Stage. But they put up a fight.
Center Maki Takada has been a star player for Japan. She scored a team-high 15 points against the U.S. and leads the team with 13.4 points per game. From the back, guard Rui Machida engineers the offense and leads the tournament with a whopping 13.8 assists. Her 5.3 assist/turnover ratio is second only to Team USA’s Sue Bird.
The dream run continues for #JPN! The hosts take down #FRA, 87-71, to advance to the women’s #basketball finals! Akaho Himawari led Japan with 17 points and 7 rebounds to set a date with destiny vs #USA! #Tokyo2020 @spinph pic.twitter.com/8FARAc4Zxo
— Randolph B. Leongson (@dolphtrythis) August 6, 2021
The home team actually led the USA in the first quarter, scoring 30 points. But once the U.S. got it going, Japan could barely get anything of its own and managed only 39 points for the next 30 minutes.
Team USA had a habit of starting slow in the Group Stage and was outscored in the first quarter in all three of their games. But they have since shifted gears in the Knockout Stage and blew out Australia and Serbia from the get-go
The one-two punch of forwards A’Ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, who combine for 31.2 points, will be too much for Japan. Center Brittney Griner on the inside will also be hard to stop as Bird will ensure the offense is humming from the back.
Japan is a feel-good story. But their Cinderella run comes to a screeching halt this Saturday night as the Olympic games come to a close.
Pick: USA -18½
France vs Serbia (3 a.m.) – Bronze Medal Game
The gold medal game may be a blowout-in-the-making, but the bronze medal match is a toss-up. France is very slightly favored to win, but the Serbians have come through as an underdog many times.
Center Sandrine Guda has had quite the tournament, leading the team in scoring (13.6 points), rebounding (6.2 boards), and efficiency (+15.6). Forward Gabby Williams does it all with 9.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. The two will have to carry France against Jelena Brooks and Serbia.
Brooks led Serbia in an upset over China. Guard Yvonne Anderson and Forward Sonja Vasic are also scoring threats. Serbia does not have that dominant force that France has, but they are a big team with plenty of firepower.
As France has shown weakness on the defensive end, Serbia has an edge as an underdog here. They should be able to have more balanced scoring and outpace the French.