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: and

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


England's Raheem Sterling looks down the field during the World Cup group B soccer match between En...
Associated Press

England player Raheem Sterling to return to World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Raheem Sterling will rejoin England’s World Cup squad after a break-in at his home in the U.K. The Chelsea forward had left England’s camp in Qatar to be with his family, which meant he missed his country’s 3-0 win against Senegal in the round of 16 on Sunday. But he will […]
1 day ago
New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) and Vegas Golden Knights right wing Keegan Kolesar (55...
Associated Press

Rangers use 4-goal 3rd period to beat Golden Knights 5-1

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mika Zibanejad had two goals and an assist, and the New York Rangers scored three times in 1:54 in the third period to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1 on Wednesday night. New York’s Artemi Panarin reached 600 career points, picking up his milestone point when he found Zibanejad, whose one-timer […]
1 day ago
FILE - Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts fields the ball hit by Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez during ...
Associated Press

AP source: Bogaerts to Padres for 11 years, $280 million

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup. A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical. The Padres […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul drives on Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) during the second ha...
Associated Press

Tatum, Brown lead Celtics to easy 125-98 win over Suns

PHOENIX (AP) — The hardest task these days for the Boston Celtics might be staying humble. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 25 points, Malcolm Brogdon added 16 off the bench and the rolling Celtics embarrassed the sloppy Phoenix Suns 125-98 on Wednesday night. “You enjoy the moment, but you’ve got to understand why […]
1 day ago
FILE - Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras heads back to the dugout during the team's baseball g...
Associated Press

AP source: Cardinals, Contreras agree to 5-year contract

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Willson Contreras is going to St. Louis to replace Yadier Molina at catcher, agreeing to an $87.5 million, five-year contract with the Cardinals on Wednesday. A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical. The addition […]
1 day ago
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, rear, fouls Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga during ...
Associated Press

Fontecchio lifts Jazz past Warriors in short-handed matchup

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Simone Fontecchio dunked with 1.4 seconds remaining off Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s steal and the Utah Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors 124-123 on Wednesday night in a matchup of short-handed teams. “I couldn’t imagine anything like that. Just an amazing feeling, really happy and excited the way we got there,” said […]
1 day ago
France advances to semifinals with 67-64 win over Spain