Aug. 9, 2012
GOPHERS IN THE OLYMPICS: Follow our Minnesota athletes in London! | USA Basketball Coverage | NBC Olympics Coverage
The USA Olympic women's basketball team and former Gopher Lindsay Whalen will play for their unprecedented fifth-straight Olympic Gold medal Saturday as they defeated a tough Australia team, 86-73, in the semifinals Thursday afternoon at Olympic Park Basketball Arena in London, England.
The victory not only put USA into the Gold Medal game, but it also extended the squad's Olympic winning streak to 40 games.
Team USA trailed Australia by four points at halftime, which was the first time it trailed at the break in London, and never could pull away from its opponent until late in the third quarter. Team captain Diana Trausi was forced to sit after drawing her fourth foul of the contest, which brought Whalen into the game with 2:46 to play in quarter.
Whalen proceeded to rattle off six-straight points to give Team USA a five-point lead and, in essence, provided a much-needed spark to the U.S. offense. Down by one, Whalen's first basket put USA ahead by one point, 57-56, before a pair of free throws extended the squad's advantage to three points. The guard's final field goal at 1:28 made the score 61-56, which was USA's largest lead of the game to that point, and proved to be the turning point in the contest.
Whalen's six-consecutive points ignited a 10-3 run to conclude the third quarter and a 31-17 run to end the game, with USA's defense holding Australia to only 26 points in the second half.
The former Gopher finished the game with six points, one rebound, one assist and one steal.
USA will face the winner of Thursday's semifinal between Russia and France for a chance to win its fifth-straight Gold medal Saturday at 3:00 p.m. CT live on NBC.