tokyo olympics

6 to Watch: USA Women's Basketball Keeps Winning Streak Alive, Women's Soccer Enters Knockout Round and More

Here are our 6 things to watch at the Tokyo Olympics

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Thursday marks day seven of the Tokyo Olympics - and with it comes some interesting storylines for athletes on Team USA.

Team USA baseball will get started with quite the South Florida flavor - with four members of the team from Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Miami will also be represented in women's basketball while in soccer, the U.S. women's national team enters the knockout round knowing a loss sends them home without a medal.

Here are our 6 things to watch at the Tokyo Olympics:

1. Team USA Knocks Off Israel in Baseball

The Team USA athlete explained what it was like to be an American flag bearer alongside Sue Bird. “It’s a symbol of liberty, a symbol of opportunity—one that my family needed and left their country for,” Alvarez said. “I was very honored to stand with that flag.”

Tyler Austin’s three-RBI night led the United States baseball team to its first win at the Tokyo Olympics.

Team USA won its 2021 Olympic debut 8-1 knocking off Israel. Joe Ryan got the win, pitching six innings and giving up only one run.

The Team USA roster blends experience with promise. Todd Frazier, Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Gose and David Robertson bring MLB experience, while Triston Casas, Simeon Woods Richardson and Shane Baz are promising prospects.

Another U.S. star is infielder Eddy Alvarez, who has already been under the Olympic spotlight in Tokyo as one of the American flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony.

The Miami native and Cristopher Columbus high school grad is one of four players on the team from South Florida, joined by former Columbus and UM star John Jay, Belen Jesuit Prep School grad Nick Martinez and American Heritage grad Triston Casas.

Baseball was a demonstration sport in six Olympics before gaining full-time status in 1992. The sport was then voted off the Olympic program for 2012 and 2016 before being brought back for the 2020 Games. It will be removed from the 2024 slate in Paris, but it could return for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

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WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - JUNE 04: Anthony Gose #31 of the United States delivers a pitch in the eighth inning against Canada during the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier Super Round at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on June 04, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

2. USWNT battles Netherlands in women's soccer quarterfinals

The U.S. women’s soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals after tying with Australia 0-0. The quarterfinals are scheduled to begin July 30.

The U.S. women's national team snuck into the soccer quarterfinals thanks to a draw against Australia on Tuesday.

The USWNT, which placed second in Group G, knows how dangerous the quarterfinal round can be. The team fell to Sweden in the round of eight at the 2016 Rio Olympics, failing to medal for the first time in Olympic history. The Americans had brought home gold in all four prior Games.

The team has already overcome adversity in Tokyo, though. The U.S. followed up a stunning 3-0 opening defeat to Sweden with a comfortable 6-1 win over New Zealand before drawing Australia to secure a quarterfinals berth. Now, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Co. turn their attention to fending elimination and winning the U.S. another gold.

The Netherlands has been an offensive force in Tokyo. The Dutch women topped Group F with seven points and scored 21 goals in three games. The quarterfinal tilt kicks off at 7 a.m. ET on Friday.

United States' Lindsey Horan, second from right, celebrates after scoring a goal during a women's soccer match against New Zealand at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Saitama, Japan.
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United States' Lindsey Horan, second from right, celebrates after scoring a goal during a women's soccer match against New Zealand at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP)

3. Women’s 100m Heats Highlight Track and Field’s Tokyo Debut

The women’s 100m heats were the marquee event of the night in track and field, and they did not disappoint. Marie Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast had the fastest qualifying time at 10.78, followed by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah at 10.82 and Olympic legend Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce at 10.84.

All three Americans -- Teahna Daniels, Javianne Oliver and Jenna Prandini, who replaced Sha’Carri Richardson in the event – also advanced to the semifinals on Saturday at 6:15 a.m. ET. The finals will follow at 8:50 a.m.

In the 3000m steeplechase, Hillary Bor surprisingly did not advance to the final after having finished seventh overall at the 2016 Rio Games. He was in the third heat, where the runners ran at a much slower pace than their counterparts in the first two heats. Among the other Americans, Benard Keter advanced after finishing in 8:17.31, good enough for sixth in the second heat, and Mason Ferlic finished eighth in the first heat.

All three Americans in the men’s 400m hurdles advanced to the semis after their performances in the heats. Rai Benjamin and Kenneth Selmon had the fourth (48.60 seconds) and fifth (48.61) fastest times overall. Dave Kendziera was toward the back of the pack with a time of 49.23.

Two American men moved forward in the high jump. Juvaughn Harrison and Shelby McEwen each jumped 2.28m. Darryl Sullivan did not make it to the final on Sunday, Aug. 1 at 6:10 a.m.

Sam Mattis was the only American to advance in the discus throw, with his best throw at 63.74m, good enough for eighth out of the 12 athletes moving forward. The final will be Saturday at 7:15 a.m. ET.

South Florida will be represented by Briana Nichole Williams, who was raised and trained in Miramar while representing Jamaica in Tokyo.

4. A’ja Wilson Helps U.S. Women’s Basketball Team Defeat Japan

2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson led Team USA women’s basketball to a win over Nigeria.

The U.S. Women’s Basketball Team improved to 2-0 in group play with a 86-69 win over Japan.

After a slow start defensively in the opening quarter, the strong defense the U.S. displayed in the second continued after halftime. Nursing a five-point lead with 4:27 remaining in the third, Team USA didn’t allow a field goal for the remainder of the quarter while increaing its lead to 65-53.

The lead continued to grow in the fourth quarter, with a putback by Breanna Stewart capping a 10-0 run that gave the U.S. its largest lead at 84-64.

The U.S. had five players finish in double figures, led by A’Ja Wilson, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds for her second-straight double-double. Breanna Stewart added 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Brittney Griner #15 of the USA Basketball Women's National Team and teammates Jewell Loyd #4, Sue Bird #6, Breanna Stewart #10 and A'ja Wilson #9 during the game against the Nigeria Women's National Team on July 18, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Brittney Griner #15 of the USA Basketball Women's National Team and teammates Jewell Loyd #4, Sue Bird #6, Breanna Stewart #10 and A'ja Wilson #9 during the game against the Nigeria Women's National Team on July 18, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

5. Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Annie Lazor medal, but no swimming golds for Team USA

The U.S. swim team had a three-medal performance as four events were decided on Thursday night, however none of them were gold.

Reigning Olympic champion Ryan Murphy won silver in the men's 200m backstroke. Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee got the best of Murphy again in a backstroke final. Rylov defeated Murphy in the 100m backstroke on Monday night.

Wednesday night Rylov was once again victorious, this time in the 200m. Rylov prevented Murphy from repeating as Olympic champion with a time of 1:53.27, just ahead of Murphy (1:54.15).

In the women's 200m breaststroke, Lilly King and Annie Lazor claimed silver and bronze respectively. South African Tatjana Schoenmaker set a new world record to win the gold medal; the first individual swimming world record of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Two Americans grabbed the other two medals, with Lilly King winning the silver medal and Annie Lazor taking home the bronze. Lazor and King, training partners and friends outside of Olympic swimming, held their arms around each other after winning their medals.

Team USA failed to reach the podium in the two other finals -- the women's 100m freestyle and the men's 200m individual medley. Emma McKeon of Australia captured the gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle, followed by Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong for the silver medal and Cate Campbell of Australia for the bronze medal.

American Abbey Weitzeil finished eighth.

In the men’s 200-meter medley, Wang Shun of China won the gold medal with a time of 1:55.0. British swimmer Duncan Scott captured second place while Jérémy Desplanches of Switzerland brought home the bronze medal. The race marks the first time a different swimmer than Michael Phelps has won the event since the 2000 Sydney Games.

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TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 26: Ryan Murphy of Team United States reacts after competing in the Men's 100m Backstroke Semifinal on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

6. Team USA Narrowly Misses the Podium in Rowing Eight Finals

Some Olympic rowing competitions have been rescheduled due to expected high wind and rain from a forecasted tropical storm

Both the men and women for Team USA just missed the podium in rowing eights, finishing fourth in their respective races.

Canada came in first for the gold medal, New Zealand came in second for the silver and China came in third for the bronze in Women’s eight.

Team USA's boat was made up of Jessica Thoennes, Charlotte Buck, Gia Doonan, Brooke Mooney, Olivia Coffey, Regina Salmons, Meghan Musnicki, Kristine O'Brien and Katelin Guregian.

For the men, New Zealand took home gold, Germany won silver, and Great Britain finished third to claim bronze.

The American boat included Benjamin Davison, Justin Best, Daniel Miklasevich, Austin Hack, Alexander Richards, Nicholas Mead, John Harrity, Liam Corrigan and Julian Venonsky.

With both the women and men failing to medal, The United States will not earn a medal in Olympic rowing for the third time ever. The other two instances were at the 1908 and 1980 Games -- in both instances, the U.S. had no rowers entered.

Rowing - Olympics: Day 1
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TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 24: Julian Venonsky, Liam Corrigan, John Harrity, Nicholas Mead, Alexander Richards, Austin Hack, Daniel Miklasevich, Justin Best and Benjamin Davison of Team United States compete during the Men's Eight Heat 1 on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Sea Forest Waterway on July 24, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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