Las Vegas — Breanna Stewart and her US Olympic teammates aren’t in a hurry after losing a series of games for the first time in 10 years.
Two days after losing to the WNBA All-Star team, Americans lost to Australia 70-67 in a pre-Olympic exhibition game on Friday.
“There is a standard, and the standard is good, but we haven’t reached that point yet,” said Stewart, who scored 17 points in the United States. “It’s frustrating. It’s part of the game and part of the process. When we arrive in Tokyo and arrive at the Olympics, it’s really, really crunch time. We rise and get better every day. I will get to where I want to go. “
The United States struggled from the outside, missing 16 of its 18 3-point attempts. The Americans, who first met as a team earlier this week, also had 18 turnovers.
“In the third quarter, we flipped the ball and gave Australia too many simple baskets,” said US coach Dawn Staley. “When we were in front of them, we were able to defend. When we flipped the ball, we couldn’t return.”
This is the first time the United States has lost a series of games in Spain since 2011. Since then, Americans have been 29–2 in exhibition games.
Stewart’s Seattle Storm teammate Ezi Magbegor scored 17 points to lead Australia.
Stewart’s three-point play drew 66 with 2:59 remaining before Magbegor scored, and Marianna Tolo made a reverse layup with two minutes remaining to give Australia a 70-66 advantage. It was.
The United States missed seven straight shots before Brittney Griner was fouled with 17 seconds remaining. She made one of two free throws.
After the time-out, the United States fouled Australia four times in a row to drive it to the foul line. After the fourth foul, Australia turned the ball over with 10.9 seconds remaining, but Stewart’s three pointers were off the mark before the buzzer sounded.
The loss comes shortly after a US man dropping an exhibition against Nigeria and Australia this week.
Opal’s victory came hours after Star Center’s Liz Cambage withdrew from the team due to mental and physical health concerns. She was worried about her experience at the Tokyo Olympics. The player was isolated in a frothy environment. Cambage posted a statement on social media late Thursday night, stating that the prospect of having no friends, family, fans or support systems outside the women’s basketball team was “honestly scary.”
“It was definitely not easy,” said Australian coach Sandy Brondello, who has never beat the United States as a coach or player. “It shows the character of this team. I didn’t know what the game would look like today.”
Brondello said the team would support the campaign decision.
“Mental health is a real problem. For now, she’s not going to be with us. We’re focusing on the future, not the past,” Brondello said.
Even without the cambage, the Australians made a great effort. Opal went down 13 in half before playing against the world’s number one team, which won 49 consecutive Olympic games.
Australia gained an advantage of 59-58 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. This is the first lead since the second quarter. Opal increased the lead to 66–62, leaving 3:25 before the Americans tied it.
Australia led 25–24 at the beginning of the second quarter, after which the United States ended this period 17–3. Stewart scored 8 points during the spurt.
The Americans led 41–28 in half, and Australia returned to the game behind a solid outdoor shoot, chasing 56–51 for the fourth quarter.
United Stats aims to win the gold medal seven times in a row at the Tokyo Olympics.
The American had actually suffered a back injury a few weeks ago and lost Diana Torashi, who missed the last three games before the Phoenix Mercury Olympic break. She was riding an exercise bike that warmed up before the match.
The United States will face Nigeria at an exhibition on Sunday before heading to Tokyo. Americans will also play pool at the Olympic Games with Nigeria.
The game was supposed to be part of a doubleheader with Australia, and US men faced a team that beat them earlier in the week. The men’s match was canceled at the end of Thursday due to a health and safety protocol.
The cancellation took place hours after Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal was excluded from the Olympics after being included in the COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocol. The team also said that Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant is also participating in the protocol “with great care.”