Australia’s women’s basketball team has exited the Olympics in the quarter-finals for the second straight time, beaten handily by Team USA 79-55.
The Opals only made it into the knockout games courtesy of a big win over Puerto Rico in their final match of the group stage, but they could not overcome the all-conquering Americans, who have won the past six women’s basketball gold medals.
During that streak that started in Atlanta in 1996 , the Opals have been regular medallists behind the US, winning three silver (2000-2008) and two bronze (1996, 2012), but the last two Australian teams have struggled to scale those heights.
Wednesday’s quarter-final clash with the US always appeared a tough assignment for an Opals side that had a tough lead-up to the Games with the late withdrawal of star centre Liz Cambage.
And despite a pre-tournament win over their rivals, the last-eight clash proved too much for the Opals.
The US jumped out to a 21-6 lead in the opening minutes and never let up.
More to come.