RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) – Serbia concluded their first participation in the Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament on a high note by claiming the bronze medal thanks to a 70-63 win over France in Saturday’s Bronze Medal Game at Carioca Arena 1.
The game was close in the first half, but European champions Serbia blew it wide open with a 16-0 third quarter run, turning a 40-37 deficit into a commanding 53-40 advantage and they never looked back.
With Jelena Milovanovic and Milica Dabovic providing the scoring punch, Serbia raced out to a 15-5 lead. The pair accounted for all but two of their points as their team led 18-10 at the end of the first quarter.
France opened the second period on a 7-0 run to get within 18-17. Ana Dabovic hit a timely three-pointer and had Serbia’s next four points to go up 25-19. Amel Bouderra and Marine Johannes each connected from beyond the arc and Marielle Amant scored inside to give Les Bleues their first lead, 27-25. Ana Dabovic made a pair of free-throws to tie the score at 27 at halftime.
Les Bleues edged ahead, 40-37, midway through the third quarter but Serbia responded in resounding fashion with a run of 16 unanswered points spearheaded by Sonja Petrovic that gave them a 53-40 advantage with 2:42 left in the period. France trailed 55-42 heading into the final frame, when Serbia did what was required to wrap up the win.
Turning Point: Petrovic accounted for 8 of the 16 points in Serbia’s pivotal third quarter run. None were more important than the corner three-pointer that ended the spurt, as it gave her team their biggest lead of the game.
Stats Don’t Lie: After going up 40-37 in the third quarter, France went scoreless for 4 minutes and 51 seconds, between the 5:04 and 15 seconds mark of the period.
Hero: Serbia as a team deserve to be praised. They opened the competition with three consecutive losses and turned things around to go on an incredible run, falling just short of reaching the Gold Medal Game.
The Bottom Line: In a re-match of the EuroBasket Women 2015 Final, Serbia once again got the better of France and it resulted in another historical landmark moment for them with a first-ever Olympic medal.