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US women beat Australia 86-73 in Olympic hoops

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By Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Tina Charles and Diana Taurasi scored 14 points apiece and the U.S. women's basketball team cranked up its defense in the second half to beat Australia 86-73 on Thursday and advanced to a fifth straight gold medal game.

The Americans, who had cruised through their first six Olympic games, were challenged by the Australians and 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage.

Australia went right at the U.S. behind its budding star, but once again the Americans depth and pressure defense wore down another opponent.

After Cambage scored 19 first-half points, the U.S. held her scoreless the rest of the game.

The Americans have won 40 consecutive Olympic contests dating back to the bronze medal game in 1992.

Australia and the U.S. had met in the previous three gold medal games. This was the first time they had played in the semifinals since 1996. Australia will play for the bronze medal.

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