France advances to semifinals with 67-64 win over Spain

Aug 3, 2021, 6:56 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2021, 10:18 am

SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Gabby Williams and her French teammates were all smiles after beating rival Spain and advancing to the semifinals of the women’s basketball tournament.

Marine Johannes scored 18 points and Williams hit key free throws late to help France edge Spain 67-64 on Wednesday night.

“I don’t even know if I can speak, I’m so overwhelmed and happy, this is amazing,” said Williams, who is playing in her first Olympics. “I’m trying not to think too much in advance. We don’t have anything yet. Yeah we are here, but we can still go home with nothing.”

The French team will face host Japan in the semifinals on Friday in a rematch of a group play game that they lost by four.

“The game we played against Japan was not us,” Williams said. “I think this is the best basketball we’ve been playing.”

The U.S. plays Serbia in the other medal round matchup.

With France trailing by one with 1:21 left, Williams made two free throws to give the team a 63-62 lead. After forcing a shot clock violation on the next possession by Spain, Johannes banked in a runner coming across the lane with 24.4 seconds left just beating the shot clock herself to make it a three-point game.

Spain wasn’t finished as Maite Cazorla drove the lane to get it within one. Alex Duchet was quickly fouled and made the second of two free throws. After a timeout, Silvia Dominguez threw the ball out of bounds and Williams hit one of two free throws and Cazorla’s 3-point try was well short.

“In college I was a 40% free throw shooter and now I’m searching for the free throw line,” Williams, who was actually a 73% foul shooter at Connecticut, said of going 3-for-4 from the line in the final 81 seconds. “I was thinking I was going to knock them down.”

When the buzzer sounded Williams spiked the ball and France celebrated at center court posing for photos.

Spain had trailed by seven heading into the final quarter before outscoring France 12-2 over the first 6:30 minutes of the quarter. Cazorla’s 3-pointer gave Spain it’s first lead since early in the game.

The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes before Williams’ free throws gave France the lead for good.

Astou Ndour scored 16 points for Spain, which remained on its bench stunned for 5 minutes after the game.

“It is a tough loss. Right now it hurts because we know that we could play much better,” said Spanish star Alba Torrens. “We know that so many things we could do a better job on both ends of the game. This team showed the character to come back when we were down. Right now it hurts because we know we could do better.”

This game featured the last two silver medalists in the Olympics.

France led 36-30 at the half before Spain got within two early in the third quarter. Johannes scored five quick points to start an 8-0 run. Led 55-48 heading into final quarter.

Spain had gone 3-0 in group play and looked impressive in its wins. France qualified for the quarterfinals despite going 1-2 in preliminary play.


More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

France advances to semifinals with 67-64 win over Spain