40 Australia vs United States of America 39
LONDON, 6 September
Rose HOLLERMANN (USA) missed a close-range shot with 1.4 seconds left as Australia survived a fourth quarter onslaught to edge out the USA 40-39 in a scrappy first semifinal.
It ended the USA's bid to win a third consecutive Paralympic title, but the champions did not abdicate their crown without an almighty fight, scoring nine consecutive points in the final quarter before their comeback fell agonisingly short.
Victory looked assured for the Australians when they delivered a 10-0 run in the third period after the sides had been tied 26-26 at the end of a tight first half, holding their rivals without a basket for more than nine minutes until Desi MILLER (USA) converted with 53 seconds left.
But after trailing 38-28 headed into the fourth period, the USA turned the tables with Rebecca MILLER (USA) scoring six of her game-high 18 points amid a frentic rally.
Australia were held scoreless for more than seven minutes until Clare NOTT (AUS) broke the drought.
It proved to be the decisive score. With 27 seconds left, MILLER scored in the paint to bring the USA within a single point and then the drama was brought to a climax when Amber MERRITT (AUS) missed two free throws.
It gave the United States a final opportunity, but HOLLERMANN could not capitalise as the Australians, bronze medallists in Beijing, celebrated.
MERRITT, NOTT and Kylie GAUCI (AUS) scored eight points each.
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