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Japan’s Rui Machida is the breakout star of Olympic basketball


Rui Machida has quickly become the breakout star of the women’s Olympic basketball tournament.

The 28-year-old has magnificently propelled her host nation of Japan to the Olympic gold-medal game for the first time in the team’s history where they will square off against a legendary U.S. team.

Machida, who also competed for Japan in the 2016 Rio Olympics, set the Olympic record for assists in a single game Friday, recording 18 in Japan’s 87-71 semifinal win over France.

Japan lost to Team USA in group-stage play, but only after the host country scored 30 points in the first quarter and put up a fight in defeat. Machida recorded 11 assists during the contest.

Machida’s Japan and the U.S. will meet again in the gold-medal game on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET.