Women's basketball

Sue Bird had seen enough.

Her team was facing its first halftime deficit in the Olympics in 12 years, and the usually quiet point guard spoke up and gave an animated halftime speech to her teammates.

They listened, then rallied past Australia 86-73 on Thursday.

"That's the thing about Sue, she picks her spots," U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. "She does it when it's necessary. Says what needs to be said … because she's not yapping all the time it means a lot."

The Americans took a deep breath at the break, then used a pivotal 16-6 scoring run sparked by the their defensive pressure.

"We came out in the second half, and once we got control of the game, it took off from there," Auriemma said.

Women's volleyball

Coach Hugh McCutcheon made a special point of seeking out captain Lindsey Berg for a quick hug after the U.S. women's volleyball team advanced to the gold medal match at the London Olympics.

The Americans got an emotional boost from Berg, who returned for a straight-set semifinal victory over South Korea on Thursday after missing the last match with a strained left Achilles.

"It's game time, and I feel great, and I don't care how I feel after Saturday," Berg said, referring to the final, a rematch of 2008 Olympic finale against Brazil.

The United States, ranked No. 1 in the world by the sport's international governing body, has rolled undefeated through London, dropping only two sets. Destinee Hooker scored 24 points in the 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 win over South Korea at Earls Court.


"To be part of the U.S sweep … when we are 80 or 90 years old, our grandkids are going to puff out their chests a little bit."

- Tray Hardee, a silver medalist, talking about the American domination of the decathlon


Chen Ruolin of China won the women's 10-meter platform gold, easily defending her title from Beijing.

Chen totaled 422.30 points during the five-dive final, winning by a 55.80-point margin. She earlier won gold in the 10-meter synchronized and swept the platform events for the second consecutive games.

China has won six of seven diving gold medals with only the men's platform remaining.

Brittany Broben, a 16-year-old from Australia competing in her first Olympics, took the silver at 366.50. Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia was third.


With her voice choking and eyes welling with tears, U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones took issue with what she called "heartbreaking" criticism a day after she barely missed winning an Olympic medal,

Jones appeared on NBC's "Today" on Wednesday and was asked about a recent story in The New York Times that said her stardom had more to do with marketing than her accomplishments on the track.

"They just ripped me to shreds, and I just thought that that was crazy," Jones said.

The Times article said Jones has "received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign." Jones is backed by big-name sponsors and has appeared on magazine covers, including a recent issue of "Time."