The Olympic basketball tournament got underway in Rio with a clash between two countries that have braved numerous terror attacks over the past year and will use basketball to show that the Olympic spirit can conquer all. France and Turkey got Rio 2016 underway.
FRANCE START SLOW BUT HOLD OFF TURKEY
After shaking off the absence of Celine Dumerc, France recovered from a slow beginning to beat Turkey 55-39 in Group A in the opening game of the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Carioca Arena.
Trailing 16-8 after the opening period, France looking out of sorts and were unable to connect on their open shots. But after the break, they hit their stride, going on an 11-2 burst to take a 19-18 lead and managing to keep the Turks scoreless for over five minutes.
And it was all France in the second half, despite effort from Turkey, they were no match for the London 2012 silver medalists.
Sarah Michel and Endy Miyem each had 14 points for France.
AUSTRALIA SILENCE HOSTS
Like they did in their opening game at the London Olympics, four years ago … Australia got their Rio 2016 campaign up-and-running by beating the hosts.
The Opals came from behind to eventually pull away from Brazil 84-66 at the Youth Arena as Elizabeth Cambage dominated proceedings, taking advantage of a smaller Brazilian forward line to lead the victors with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
But the Opals did not have things their own way to start as the hosts, rallied by a passionate home crowd, raced to a 24-14 lead after the first quarter. But it didn’t last, as the Aussies fought back and late in the third quarter, built a sizeable cushion to secure victory.
JAPAN JUMP FOR JOY BY BEATING BELARUS
In without question, the most exciting game of the opening day at the women’s basketball tournament, Japan edged Belarus 77-73.
Since June’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Belarus are now 1-3 against East Asian sides, but this one will sting the most as they cracked under pressure and ultimately did not have an answer to a small but extremely quick Japanese attack.
M Kurihara led Japan with 20 points.
CANADA IMPRESSIVE IN WIN OVER CHINA
Canada opened their Rio 2016 campaign with a throughly convincing 90-68 win over a woeful China.
Tamara Tatham led all scorers with 20 points as Canada, led for the vast majority of play, taking a commanding 37-26 lead at the half-time break and never looking troubled.
There were brief spurts where China looked promising, but Canada quickly extinguished the flame and eased the finish line.