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UConn in the Olympics: Charles, Stewart leads Team USA past Williams’ France

Steph Labbé also advanced to the gold medal match with a shutout against the USWNT while Cecile Pieper and Germany were eliminated.

The Olympic Games-Tokyo 2020 Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

In a battle between two sides with former UConn stars, Team USA took down France in the final game of pool play, 93-82.

Tina Charles, who entered the games having never attempted a 3-pointer in the Olympics, hit 3-3 from beyond the arc en route to 15 points and five assists off the bench.

“I thought Tina just really gave us a shot in the arm when we needed it,” USA coach Dawn Staley said postgame. “Her ability to score outside the 3 and then she would take her man down in the paint and score for us. We all see offensively what she gave to our team, but defensively, I thought she was a glue out there just directing traffic as well.

Breanna Stewart followed up her double-double against Japan with a 17 point, seven rebound and seven assist night. Sue Bird scored six points on a pair of 3-pointers while Diana Taurasi played just 11 minutes after injuring her wrist in the first quarter. Though she eventually returned to the game, she scored just three points and did not speak to the media postgame. Napheesa Collier did not play.

On the other side, Gabby Williams finished with 10 points, six steals, five rebounds and three assists.

For the third consecutive game, the US trailed after the first quarter, 22-19. But as they’ve done so far these Olympics, they settled in during the second quarter, started to get shots to fall and took a five point lead into the half.

France stayed close through most of the third and eventually re-took the lead early in the final period before Team USA responded with a quick 7-0 run to regain the advantage for good. After that, France never got back within a single possession.

With the victory, the US secures the top spot in Group B while France will also advance as the top third-place finisher. The quarterfinals begin on Wednesday, though the bracket for the knockout round has not yet been announced.

Highlights

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

Labbé going for gold

Former UConn goalkeeper Steph Labbé is heading to the gold medal match after shutting out the USWNT in a 1-0 win for Canada.

Labbé didn’t make her first save until after the 60th minute, a leaping play to knock Carli Lloyd’s shot over the crossbar. While the US started to crank up pressure in the final 30 minutes, Labbé held strong in back to keep the defending World Cup champions off the board.

Canada took a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick in the 74th minute and Labbé shut the US out to earn the way. Next, Labbé and her team will go for gold against Sweden on Thursday at 10 p.m. EST.

Pieper, Germany dropped by Argentina

Cecile Pieper’s time in the Olympics came to a bitter end with a 3-0 defeat to Argentina — the No. 2 team in the world — in the quarterfinals. Pieper was responsible for two of Germany’s eight shots, though none of them found the back of the net.

Argentina scored a pair in the second quarter and stymied Germany’s offense all night before adding a third tally in the 52nd minute. Germany won bronze in the 2016 Olympics.

HOCKEY-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-GER-ARG
Germany’s Cecile Pieper cries after losing 3-0 to Argentina in their women’s quarter-final match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Looking ahead

Niels Giffey and Germany will look to find some magic in the knockout round against Slovenia at 9:00 p.m. EST.