=== American women cruise to gold in basketball ===
London, England (Sports Network) - For the fifth consecutive Olympics and
seventh time in eight tries, the American women are gold medalists.
Candace Parker led the charge with 21 points, and Team USA used a stifling
defensive strategy to run France off the court with a dominant 86-50
With male stars like Kobe Bryant looking on, the women put on a performance
the men will hope to duplicate on Sunday against Spain. They held France to 30
percent shooting, only 2-of-11 from three-point range and no more than 15
points in any quarter.
Conversely, the United States' worst quarter was 17 points in the second, two
more than France's most productive period of play.
All 12 players on Team USA had at least three points, though only Parker and
Sue Bird were in double figures. Bird ended with 11 for the Americans, who won
every game of this tournament by double digits.
"This team was so talented and so deep and it really felt like we had the
shortest training camp of any other Olympics that I've been in," Bird, a
three-time gold medalist, said. "For us to put it together the way we did it's
very, very gratifying."
Sandrine Gruda and Edwige Lawson-Wade led France with 12 points apiece, and
the French captured the silver medal in their best women's basketball
performance to date.
France kept up for a few minutes in the first quarter, holding a 13-11 lead on
a Lawson-Wade three-pointer, but the Americans quickly went in front and never
Team USA scored the next five points, capped by a Lindsay Whalen fast-break
basket for a three-point lead. The margin stood at five after 10 minutes of
play, but it only grew from there.
Unlike the Americans' semifinal matchup against Australia, which won the
bronze medal earlier Saturday with a victory over Russia, Team USA made
sure it didn't trail at halftime.
France again stayed close early on, but the Americans went on a 9-0 run,
capped by a Parker free throw, to open a 37-23 lead with 52 seconds left in
the half. A couple Lawson-Wade free throws cut France's deficit to 12 at the
Like they did against Australia, the Americans turned it on in the second
half, holding France scoreless for a nearly six-minute portion of the third
while opening a 62-32 lead.
"It's great, just to me in the position to win a medal is awesome and the
women that I got a chance to experience this with and win a gold medal is even
better," said American Seimone Augustus.
France managed only 25 points in each half, and the Americans managed to win
the fourth quarter by 10 although the outcome was never in doubt.
08/11 21:22:10 ET