TOKYO — Next up in the U.S. women’s basketball team Olympic juggernaut: Serbia.
At halftime of their semifinal match, the United States was leading, 41-23, and Sue Bird led the scoring with 8 points and two rebounds. The winner goes on to the gold medal game on Sunday afternoon local time.
The United States, with a coterie of W.N.B.A. stars, has stomped past Nigeria, Japan, France and, in a quarterfinal game, Australia, with comfortable margins or better.
With an Olympic winning streak of 53 consecutive games, the U.S. women are favored to win gold, and it hasn’t looked like teams have an answer for their offense and defense versatility. They lead the tournament in scoring, assists and field goal percentage — and also in star power with the likes of Bird, A’ja Wilson and Diana Taurasi.
Serbia, though, is no doormat. They had a comeback win over China in the quarterfinals and are the reigning Eurobasket champions; they are noted for a grinding if not flashy offense and a tough defense. Jelena Brooks leads the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game.
Yvonne Anderson, a U.S.-born player with Serbian citizenship, had the most points for Serbia with 10.