In a battle of superpowers in the sport, the US looked to be rolling to a convincing victory after Dewanna Bonner’s lay-up gave them a 75-56 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Sapphires, who only lost to the Americans by two points on opening day in this tournament, reeled off 11 straight points to start the fourth quarter and trim their deficit to just 75-67with 6:53 remaining in contest.
Mikaela Dombkins started the spurt with a three-ball, and Jenna O’Hea followed with a jump shot to take her tally to 21 points for the game.
Heather Oliver, Cayla Francis and Dombkins again finished off the surge.
The Australians then stopped the US at the other end with Courtney Paris and Crystal Langhorne missing shots.
But Abigail Waner, one of the many standout performers for the US in the Moscow Region this week, intercepted a pass by O’Hea for her fourth steal, and Essence Carson drilled a jump shot to end the run.
Defense, in fact, turned the tide for the Americans.
Carson came up with her third steal, picking off a pass from Oliver and Candice Wiggins went in for a lay-up.
The next American to claim a steal was Jolene Anderson, and that led to another Wiggins lay-up for an 81-67 lead.
Langhorne followed with back-to-back jump shots to stretch the lead to 85-69.
There would be no more Australia comebacks.
Langhorne finished with 23 points to lead the US while O’Hea scored the same amount for the Sapphires.
Wiggins, Anderson and Bonner each had 14 points for the US.
Just like the first game, the Americans dominated the boards with a 52-31 advantage for the game. The Amazing Langhorne had 14.
The American defense finished with 15 steals with Waner coming up with five.
Fourth is no good enough