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UConn in the Olympics: Nurse scores 16 for Canada in loss to Serbia

USA 3x3 also secured a bye to the semifinals while Gavin Edwards made his Olympic debut with Japan.

BASKETBALL-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images

Canada women’s basketball’s quest for its first Olympic medal got off to a rough start as they fell 72-68 to Serbia in their opening game of the tournament.

Kia Nurse got the start and scored 16 points on 6-18 shooting to go with six rebounds, four assists and three steals while playing a team-high 38 minutes. Aaliyah Edwards did not factor in with just 16 seconds of action.

Canada trailed by eight at halftime but rallied to tie it at the end of the third quarter, though they couldn’t keep the momentum going in to the fourth. Serbia went ahead 61-58 with four minutes left in the final quarter and never relinquished the lead.

Overall, Canada struggled to shoot the 3-ball, going just 5-24 from beyond the arc — including a 1-5 night from Nurse. The loss puts them in an early hole, which means they’ll likely have to beat Korea and Spain to advance to the knockout stage.

BASKETBALL-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-SRB-CAN Photo by GREGORY SHAMUS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

USA 3x3 rolls on

USA 3x3 is officially through to the semifinals after defeating Italy and China to improve to 6-0. Stef Dolson scored nine points to go with seven rebounds across the two games.

In the early game, the US made it hard on themselves by failing to hit a single shot from beyond the arc. Luckily, they were stout defensively and held Italy to just 9-26 shooting to come away with a 17-13 win.

Against China, the US earned its narrowest victory of the tournament, 21-19. Neither side took more than a two-point lead at any point and had China hit a two-pointer during the final minute, they would’ve scored the upset. Instead, Kelsey Plum finished China off with a game-clinching shot from beyond the arc with 30 seconds left.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Dolson said. “They were physical, probably the most physical team we played. But we were able to just keep playing our game, keep battling and made big shots, like Kelsey made that big shot at the end.”

The US wraps up the group stage tomorrow against host Japan with the semifinals and gold medal/bronze medal games set for Wednesday.

2020 Tokyo Olympics: 3x3 USA v China Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Ireland stumbles against Netherlands

Three years ago, the Netherlands ended Ireland’s Cinderella run to the World Cup finals with a commanding 6-0 win. Last night, Ireland couldn’t avenge the defeat as the Oranje won again, 4-0.

Netherlands — the No. 1 team in the world — broke through eight minutes in on a shot that just snuck under Róisín Upton’s stick. Though Ireland held strong defensively for the next 40 minutes, they fell apart late and allowed three goals in the final 11 minutes.

Ireland did not record a single shot on goal.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Day 3 - Hockey Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Gavin Edwards debuts

Former UConn forward Gavin Edwards couldn’t help Japan upset Spain in their opening game of the Olympic tournament as the hosts fell 88-77. Edwards finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists while playing 24 minutes in the loss.

Edwards and Japan play Slovenia next on Thursday at 12:40 a.m. EST.

BASKETBALL-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-JPN-ESP Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Cecile Pieper helps Germany past India

Cecile Pieper and Germany have two wins under their belt in Tokyo after taking down India, 2-0. Pieper got the start and helped screen the goalie on Germany’s second goal. On the replay, the ball appeared to deflect off Pieper’s stick and into the goal, though she wasn’t credited for it.

Next, Pieper and Germany will take on Upton’s Ireland squad on Tuesday at 11:15 p.m. EST.

HOCKEY-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-GER-IND
Germany’s Cecile Pieper (L) celebrates after teammate Anne Katarina Schroder (R) scored against India during their women’s pool A match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Photo by LUIS ACOSTA/AFP via Getty Images

Looking ahead

Six Huskies will open play in the Olympic women’s basketball tournament on Monday night into Tuesday morning. Gabby Williams will make her Olympic debut with France on Monday at 9 p.m. EST against Japan while Team USA begins their quest for gold Tuesday at 12:40 a.m. EST vs. Nigeria.

Though Diana Taurasi has been out with a hip injury since July 7, she plans to play in the opener.

“Yeah, I’ll be ready to go,” Taurasi told reporters Monday. “Getting here to Tokyo was huge. Knowing we were going to have six days of being able to be on court and go through the progression you need when you haven’t been on court for three weeks.”

Just because Taurasi can play doesn’t mean she’ll be at 100 percent, though. While she can’t injury herself more by playing, her hip’s still bothering her.

“It’s been painful,” Taurasi said. “There are times where you kinda gotta grind through the pain and this is one of them.”

Meanwhile, USA 3x3 will close the group stage at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday against Japan.

Canada women’s soccer will also finish group play against Great Britain at 7 a.m. Steph Labbé did not play in Canada’s second game after suffering a rib joint injury against Japan in the opener and is likely questionable against Great Britain.