France advanced to the Olympic women's basketball quarterfinals with a 93-82 loss to the United States on Monday.
The Olympics have a peculiar format. The 12 teams are in three pools. The top two teams in each pool advance, and the U.S. team had already punched its ticket.
But the two best third-place teams also advance to the quarterfinals, and France needed to keep the margin to 14 or less to ensure its place in the next round.
For a while, it seemed as though France might fulfill the larger ambition of ending the U.S. women's 51-game win streak in Olympic play. France led 74-72 early in the fourth quarter.
But when the U.S. stormed back in front and pulled away to a double-digit lead, France's goal had to change. That led to odd plays in the final two minutes such as pulling the ball back into a halfcourt set despite having a transition opportunity.
France dribbled out the clock in the final seconds, leaving both teams to celebrate.