Former Longhorn and US women’s basketball team crush Australia

Japan 2020
SAITAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 04: Ariel Atkins #7 of Team United States and Ezi Magbegor #13 of Team Australia fight for possession during the second half of a Women's Basketball Quarterfinals game on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 04, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SAITAMA, JAPAN – AUGUST 04: Ariel Atkins #7 of Team United States and Ezi Magbegor #13 of Team Australia fight for possession during the second half of a Women’s Basketball Quarterfinals game on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 04, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

TOKYO (NBC Olympics/KXAN) — An Australia team that beat Team USA in a pre-Olympics exhibition was no match for the Americans in a tournament elimination game.

Breanna Stewart scored 23 points and filled up the box score with crooked numbers as the Americans won their Olympic quarterfinal with Australia by a 79-55 score in Japan. Joining her on the team was guard Ariel Atkins, a former Longhorn who now plays for the Washington Mystics.

Their 53rd-straight Olympic win sets the Americans up for a semifinal fight with Serbia.

Team USA went down 5-2 very early but Stewart took over, scoring 10 points in a 14-1 run leading into a timeout. She’d finish the first half with 20 points.

The Americans led 26-12 after one quarter, Stewart well on her way to upping the ante following 9, 15, and 17 points in her first three games of the Olympics.

Get the latest on how our Texans are doing in the Olympics by signing up for push alerts on the KXAN News App and our More Than The Score newsletter. Join us at noon every weekday for our Japan 2020 stream highlighting memorable moments and KXAN’s team in Tokyo.

Australia, of course, didn’t quit and opened the second quarter with a 13-2 run spurred by a 3-point play from Stephanie Talbot and a straight-up 3-pointer from Leilani Mitchell, who had nine points in the first half.

It was a red herring, though, as Team USA dominated at both ends of the floor. The Americans held Australia to 30 percent shooting, blocking five shots while dishing out 24 assists (led by Chelsea Gray‘s eight).

Coach Dawn Staley got everyone in the game, but it was all about Stewart. She shot 8-of-10 from the floor including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, grabbing five rebounds to go with two blocked shots, a steal, and three assists. Stewart also drew six fouls.

Brittany Griner had the highlight of the game, one of her two blocks and emphatic standing denial. She ended with 15 points, two steals, two blocks, and eight boards.

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