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Semifinal game against Serbia set after Team USA dominates Australia

The quest for a seventh straight gold medal is still alive for the US women’s national team after a big quarterfinal win over Australia.

Team USA beat Australia, 79-55, Tuesday, Aug. 3 from the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

“[We] block [outside noise] out,” guard Chelsea Gray said. “It’s a one-and-done, it’s kind of a live-or-die situation and we knew we were coming to play today so we’ll enjoy this win but get ready for the next one.”

The win runs the team’s win streak to 53 straight games and sets up a semifinal matchup against Serbia, who was in attendance for this game.

“[53 wins means] legacy,” Gray said. “[It’s] a standard that USA Basketball has set. It’s a lot of great people that have come through this program, some that’s still playing.”

Gray was on the USA team that played Serbia in the Olympic qualifier.

“They’re very versatile,” she said. “You’ll have one player that’s bringing down the ball, they’ll be setting the pindown [screen] or receiving the pindown. They’re versatile with their four players, their three players as they set screens and play off of each other. They play hard.”

Earlier in the exhibition portion of the schedule, the Australian women’s national team ousted Team USA by three points.

Now playing for all the marbles, Team USA dominated the Opals this time around.

Australia was held to 30% shooting from the field in addition to being forced into 21 turnovers.

“I think you see improvements each game,” Gray said. “We’re able to get practice time, able to prepare and then it’s onto the next game so it’s kind of a laser focus on each game being important.”

To open the game, the Americans went on a 12-0 run to take a commanding 16-6 lead before the lead would balloon to 16 points before the end of the first quarter.

The lead grew to as many as 29 points in the third quarter.

Team USA also outrebounded Australia by six and held it to eight free throw attempts throughout the game.

Australian Ezi Magebor was held to five points on 2-of-6 from the field in just 18 minutes of action.

Forward Breanna Stewart scored 20 of her 23 points in the first half, helping Team USA build a 48-27 halftime lead. Stewart also added five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in a team-high 23 minutes played.

Center Brittney Griner added 15 points and pulled in eight rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

“She’s a force in the paint when she’s going to work,” Gray said. “People have to pay attention to her and at the same time, if they’re not we’re going to feed her the ball. Nine times out of 10, it’s going to be a bucket or something good is going to come out of it.”

Every USA player logged minutes with all but one coming away with points.

Gray had a game-high eight assists to go along with seven points in 19 minutes played.

“There’s different reads and things that I see or I heard switch,” she said. “I have no idea it came from -- just a natural ability -- I was blessed with it. It also comes with experience and playing the game.”


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