Early Friday morning, the United States Women’s Olympic Basketball Team faces host nation Japan in their second Group B match; they are coming off an opening 81-72 win over Nigeria, a game that extended their Olympic record to an even 50 consecutive wins. In a huge upset, Japan also won their opening game, defeating France 74-70. The U.S. is looking to earn their seventh consecutive gold medal in women’s basketball.
U.S.: Ariel Atkins, Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, A’ja Wilson
JAPAN: Himawari Akaho, Saki Hayashi, Rui Machida, Evelyn Mawuli, Saori Miyazaki, Yuki Miyazawa, Naho Miyoshi, Nako Motohashi, Moeko Nagaoka, Monica Okoye, Maki Takada, Nanaka Todo
USA: CAN THEY PERFORM BETTER AGAINST JAPAN?
Despite winning the first game of Group B, the U.S. did not perform as well as they were initially expected to. They were predicted to win by a spread of 30.5, but they ended up scraping the win by only nine points. With 25 turnovers, the U.S.’s performance as a whole was a little bit lacking.
Even though the U.S. may not have racked up as many points as they were supposed to, the individual players certainly performed well. In her first Olympic game, A’ja Wilson had a double-double with a team-best 19 points and 13 rebounds. Sylvia Fowles and Brittney Griner are considered to be Team USA’s biggest strength on the inside; center Brittney Griner also had a double-double and 13 points, and 10 rebounds. Forward Breanna Stewart scored nine points and 11 rebounds. Four-time gold medalist Diana Taurasi also played her first game since July 3, scoring 10 points.
The U.S. will have to sharpen their performance against Japan, which defeated France in its Olympic opener. According to ESPN, Japan hit five of its 11 three-pointers in the fourth quarter and shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Guard Saki Hiyashi performed wonderfully, with 12 points, including three triples.
The U.S. is the huge favorite for Friday’s game. Here are the betting odds from CBS Sports!
- U.S. vs. Japan spread: U.S. -19.5
- U.S. vs. Japan over-under: 162 points
- U.S. vs. Japan money line: U.S. -2400, Japan +1100
SportsBookWire predicts the U.S. to win 97-71.
HOW TO WATCH
You can watch the U.S. Women’s Basketball Team take on Japan on Friday at 12:40 am EST on the USA Network and streaming on NBCOlympics.com, Peacock, FuboTV, YouTubeTV, and Sling. Make sure to tune in to cheer on Team USA!