China's gutsy effort falls just short
Serbia's women's basketball team got 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds from small forward Sonja Vasic on Wednesday, holding off China to earn a spot in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Jelena Brooks led all scorers with 18 points for Turkey at Saitama Super Arena.
The bronze medalist at Rio 2016, Serbia held a 35-33 lead at the half, but China looked like a different -- and quite refreshed -- team after the break, outscoring Serbia 25-14 to take a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Unbowed, Serbia roared back. Vasic's bucket with 2:29 to play put Serbia back in front, 70-68, and while China's Xu Han tied it up moments later, Vasic reclaimed the lead by hitting two free throws at 1:53. Brooks scored 18 seconds later for a four-point lead, and Vasic fittingly iced the win by making two free throws at 0:11.
USA headed to yet another women's semifinal
The United States, unsurprisingly, is now just one win away from earning a spot in the women's gold medal game.
Led by Breanna Stewart, Team USA obliterated Australia by a score of 79-55 early Wednesday morning. Stewart, competing in her second Olympics, finished the game with 23 points while making 80 percent of her shots from the field.
Brittney Griner also had a strong game for the Americans, logging 15 points and eight rebounds while shutting down Australia's offensive bids in the paint.
Japan stuns Belgium late
It wasn't a buzzer-beater, but a thrilling finish between Japan and Belgium felt like one.
The tournament hosts surprised the Belgians to reach the semifinals via the 3-ball, a 25-17 fourth quarter capped by Saki Hayashi's trey with 16 seconds left on the clock.
The Belgians led by one at the half and seven after 30 minutes, Kim Mestdagh's 24 points and Emma Meesseman's 25 leading the way, but Mestdagh's jumper at the buzzer couldn't put Belgium back in front.
Meessemann also had six assists, 11 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks, but Japan had five players score in double digits including Rui Machida. She assisted Hayashi's winner, one of 14 dimes to go with 10 points.
France survives Spain's late rally to advance
In one of the bigger upsets of the women's basketball competition, France took down the previously undefeated Spain by a score of 67-64 to advance to the women's semifinals.
After trailing in the contest since the first quarter, Spain orchestrated a frantic rally to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. France continued to battle, though, and reclaimed the lead as the clock wound down. Luckily for France, a late out-of-bounds turnover from Maite Cazorla stifled any hopes of another comeback from Spain, helping to secure the hard-fought victory.
Marine Johannes was outstanding for France, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. The 26-year-old sunk a crucial two-point bucket with 23.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give her squad a much-needed three-point cushion.