USA vs. France Women’s Basketball Preview
Where: Rio de Janeiro, Carioca Arena 1
When: Thursday, August 18, 6:00 PM EST
TV Broadcast: NBCSN / NBCOlympics.com
Writer’s Pick: USA (-27.5)
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Betting on USA (-27.5)
Diana Taurasi (15.0 PPG) and Maya Moore (11.2 PPG)—the team’s leading scorers—quickly went to work, finishing with 19 points apiece to guide the Star-Spangled Banner to the eventual 110-64 victory. That’s the fifth time in the competition that the Americans have eclipsed the 100-point mark.
Having that said, you can expect the US, which is still on track to break the scoring record (102.4 PPG) of the 1996 Olympic squad, to put on another offensive clinic in their semifinals collision against a French team that’s had its inconsistencies on both ends of the court. Les Bleues are averaging below 70 points in both scoring and points allowed throughout the tournament.
The United States, however, could be shorthanded in this one with their team captain Sue Bird nursing a knee sprain. Her status remains day-to-day.
Betting on France (+27.5)
France faces an insurmountable challenge of taking down the five-time defending champions—the United States. The French, without a doubt, can’t afford to go on a sluggish start like the way they did during their come-from-behind win over the Canadians in the quarterfinals.
In that game, Les Bleues had to rely on a second-half surge, 36-26, to ultimately book their second-straight Olympic semifinals berth. Sandrine Gruda (14 points), Valeriane Ayayi (12) and Olivia Epoupa (10) led the way as all three scored in double-digits.
However, France needs an almost-flawless effort to match up with the overwhelming talent of the Americans. And to be specific, it should consistently knock down some long-range bombs.
The duo of Gaelle Skrela (41.7 3P%) and Sarah Michel (40.0 3P%) have shot quite efficiently for the French, but they need the others to relocate their shooting touch and overall rhythm, too. They shot just 26.3 percent from deep as a team versus Canada.
Meanwhile, France’s defense is still a liability. It has looked solid a couple of times, particularly in the opener versus Turkey, who were held to just 39 points at the end of regulation. But it’s a completely different thing to replicate that defensive effort against a star-studded squad like the US.
USA wins and covers the spread (-27.5).
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