Saturday, August 11, 2012

U.S. Women Face France for Olympic Gold

The U.S. women and France each advanced to the gold medal game with an undefeated 7-0 record. France defeated the Russians 81-64 to advance.

Over the course of 7 wins, France has out-shot its opponents 46-36 percent, and 41.5 to 27 percent on the 3. But the French lose the possession game with just 10 offensive boards and 15.5 turnovers, while giving up 13.5 offensive boards and creating 14 turnovers.

Point guard Celine Dumerc is their key. She scores 15 ppg on 59 percent shooting while adding 3.5 assists and a steal. Then there are inside players Sandrine Gruda (6-4) and Isabelle Yacoubou (6-3) who combine for 19 ppg on 50 percent shooting with 11 boards. Forward Emilie Gomis scores 11 points on 53 percent shooting, and back-up point guard, 37-year old Edwige Lawson-Wade adds 9 points and 2 assists.

Like France, the U.S. out-shoots its opponents 49-34 percent. But unlike France, the U.S. wins the possession game by a wide margin with 17 offensive boards to 10 for the opposition, and commits just 10 turnovers while creating 20. The game is likely to be decided off the offensive glass and off turnovers and in transition.

Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings and Sue Bird are the U.S. big three, starting all 7 Olympic games. They score 24 points among them on 46 percent shooting.

The inside pair of Tina Charles and Candace Parker have scored 20 points on 46 percent shooting while adding 15 boards.

Angel McCoughtry has been the U.S. best player in several games, and is scoring 11 points on 64 percent shooting with 2 steals.

Lindsay Whalen has also been terrific off the bench, leading several 3rd quarter comebacks, scoring 9 ppg on 55 percent shooting. Maya Moore has now moved into the U.S. starting lineup and has contributed a steady 9 points on 46 percent shooting with 3 assists.

Australia hurt the U.S. inside in the semis, but of course we're talking 6-7 and 6-5 in the Aussies' case. France goes a more reasonable 6-4, 6-3. Still, look for France to pound it inside. A big shooting percentage will be needed for France to win, and they'll have to cut down on their typical 20 turnovers.

The U.S. will look to create some turnovers and get out in transition. If they cannot do that, they can still win off the offensive glass. As always, it should be close into the 2nd half when the U.S. 2nd unit featuring McCoughtry and Whalen should take over.

Final: U.S. 83 France 60

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