Whalen, Augustus leads U.S. women's hops team to gold medal
LONDON (The Sports Network) - For the fifth consecutive Olympics and seventh time in eight tries, the American women are gold medalists.
Candace Parker led the charge with 21 points, and Team USA used a stifling defensive strategy to run France off the court with a dominant 86-50 performance.
With male stars like Kobe Bryant looking on, the women put on a performance the men will hope to duplicate on Sunday against Spain. They held France to 30 percent shooting, only 2-of-11 from three-point range and no more than 15 points in any quarter.
Conversely, the United States' worst quarter was 17 points in the second, two more than France's most productive period of play.
All 12 players on Team USA had at least three points, though only Parker and Sue Bird were in double figures. Bird ended with 11 for the Americans, who won every game of this tournament by double digits.
Sandrine Gruda and Edwige Lawson-Wade led France with 12 points apiece, and the French captured the silver medal in their best women's basketball performance to date.
France kept up for a few minutes in the first quarter, holding a 13-11 lead on a Lawson-Wade three-pointer, but the Americans quickly went in front and never looked back.
Team USA scored the next five points, capped by a Lindsay Whalen fast-break basket for a three-point lead. The margin stood at five after 10 minutes of play, but it only grew from there.
Unlike the Americans' semifinal matchup against Australia, which won the bronze medal earlier Saturday with a victory over Russia, Team USA made sure it didn't trail at halftime.
France again stayed close early on, but the Americans went on a 9-0 run, capped by a Parker free throw, to open a 37-23 lead with 52 seconds left in the half. A couple Lawson-Wade free throws cut France's deficit to 12 at the break.
Like they did against Australia, the Americans turned it on in the second half, holding France scoreless for a nearly six-minute portion of the third while opening a 62-32 lead.
France managed only 25 points in each half, and the Americans managed to win the fourth quarter by 10 although the outcome was never in doubt.