After ending the three previous Olympics with a loss to the United States, Lauren Jackson earned her fourth consecutive Olympic medal and Australia's fifth with a win in the bronze medal game over Russia, 83-74.
Jackson is already plenty decorated: she's a three-time WNBA MVP, three-time scoring champion, and has earned the WNBA championship twice with the Seattle Storm. But she's been unable to lead Team Australia to victory over the United States. In 2000, 2004, and 2008, these losses came in the gold medal match. This time, the two squads were faced up in the semifinals, meaning the Opals' loss put her in the bronze medal game.
She responded with a dominant 25-point, 11-rebound outing against Becky Hammon's Russian squad. Australia was also helped by 21 points and four assists by the 37-year old Kristi Harrower and 17 points and eight boards by Suzy Batkovic. Hammon paced her Russian team with 19 points, but nobody else had more than 12. Australia pulled away in the second and third quarters, and although a late run by Russia made the final tally less than ten points, the victory and medal were in hand for the Aussies for some time.