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U.S thrash Serbia to reach Tokyo Olympics women’s basketball final

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A relieved U.S had no difficulty in thrashing Serbia 79-59 on Friday to reach the final of women’s basketball event at the Tokyo Games.

The victory helped them to maintain their long unbeaten streak at the Olympics.

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The U.S have won eight of nine Olympic gold medals available since 1984 and are unbeaten at the Games since the last of their three losses came in 1992.

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They will target a seventh straight gold medal, which would equal the men’s best Olympic streak, in Saturday’s final against Japan after the hosts beat France 87-71.

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Serbia never looked like causing an upset and were effectively beaten by the end of a first quarter they trailed by 13 points.

From then the U.S controlled matters and coasted through.

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Brittney Griner led them in scoring with 15 points, a tally matched by U.S-born Yvonne Anderson playing for Serbia.

But with no teammate also reaching double figures, Anderson did not have the support offered by U.S players Chelsea Gray and Breanna Stewart as her lonely resistance fell short.

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A victory in the final for the U.S would give Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi their fifth gold medals —— the most ever in Olympic basketball.

“I think everybody here wants to win gold for them, for us, for everybody that’s started this streak that got us here,” Griner said.

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Japan prevailed over the French with Himawari Akaho top-scoring with 17 points.

France led 22-14 after the first quarter but the hosts stormed back in the next two.

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It meant they were able to ease off a little and save some energy in the final quarter with the Americans waiting.

The French will take on Serbia for bronze also on Saturday in Saitama.

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The Serbians also finished third in Rio.

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