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US advances into women's basketball final
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The United States overcame a slow start to beat Russia 67-52 Thursday to reach Olympics women's basketball final, one step away from the fourth consecutive Olympics gold.

Russia jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead with a 6-0 run and the Americans went on an exactly same run after Tina Thompson hit a three-pointer to lead 11-10. But the United States still trailed 16-13 by the end of the extremely tight first quarter with seven lead changes and two times tied.

The United States improved their offence early second quarter to level the game at 30-30 before Candace Parker grabbed one defensive rebound and two offensive rebounds but her teammates missed three shots. Diana Taurasi then hit a three-pointer for the Americans to score a 10-0 run and pull away at 33-30, leading 33-32 at half-time.

Both teams played tough defence in the third quarter but the Americans, with 13 rebounds, compared with eight of Russia, managed to stretch the leading margin to eight points at the end of the quarter.

Keeping the momentum into the fourth quarter, the Americans extended the advantage to double digits to seal the berth in the final.

The Russians, who at the 2006 World Championships beat Spain and the United States on the way to losing to Australia in the final, will meet loser of the semis between China and Australia for the Games bronze on Saturday when the United Stated play for the gold.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)

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