Capping an improbable run through the women's basketball Olympic tournament, Serbia captured the bronze medal with a 70-63 win over France.
The game appeared to be firmly in Serbia’s grasp as they started the game on a 12-3 run. But, France would battle back.
France began the second quarter on a 7-0 run, coming within one points of Serbia’s lead. By the end of the first half, Serbia’s lead had disappeared and the two teams were knotted at 27 points apiece.
Serbia jumped back into the lead with a big third quarter. Sonja Petrovic and Danielle Page led the charge, combining for 17 third-quarter points. Serbia ended the third frame on an 18-2 run and held a 55-42 edge with one quarter between them and a bronze medal.
Petrovic finished the game with 10 points, all of them coming in that crucial third period. Page also 10 points, adding eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Jelena Milovanovic had the hot hand for the bronze medalists with a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and two assists.
France kept the game close throughout, answering every Serbian spurt with a run of their own, but in the end they could not overcome Serbia’s stifling defense. France committed 19 turnovers in the game as Serbia collected 11 steals.
Endy Miyem led France with 18 points, three rebounds and two assists. Valeriane Ayayi was the only other player on France in double digits with 10 points.
Coming off a silver medal at the London Olympics, France overcame the loss of their best player, Celine Dumerc, to finish the tournament 4-4. Dumerc went down with an ankle injury just before the start of the Games.
Serbia, who entered the tournament as the defending European champions, finished the tournament with a 4-4 record. They got hot at the right time, though, and beat Australia in the quarterfinals in a massive upset. Australia was heavily favored to come away with a medal, while Serbia was considered, at best, a fringe medal contender.
The Serbians lost to Spain in the semifinals, ending their pursuit of the Olympic final. It was their second loss to Spain in the tournament.
The Rio Games were Serbia's first Olympic appearance as an independent nation in the women’s basketball tournament. The Serbian men's team plays the United States for the gold medal on Sunday.