Sochi recap: Curling, women’s semifinals

Should we just give Olympic gold to Canada? Jennifer Jones and company hit big shots and clutch shots to take out world champion Britain. In the other semifinal, Sweden made slightly fewer errors than Switzerland.

Date: 19-Feb

Sport: Curling

Event: Women’s semifinals – Britain-Canada, Sweden-Switzerland

What happened:

Britain-Canada: World champion Eve Muirhead vs. traditional power Canada, led this time around by Jennifer Jones. And the quality of play was strong — no one shot worse than 80%.

Britain would need to be perfect to challenge the unbeaten Canadians, and in the second end, they weren’t. Jones got a couple of rocks near the center. Muirhead could have scored two by getting rid of both Canadian rocks, but she only got one, giving up a steal.

Muirhead rallied in the third, pouncing on a couple of errors to get two and cut the lead to 3-2. Jones threaded the needle for a takeout to score one in the fourth, and they traded singles through the next two ends, leaving Canada up 5-3.

Canada played effective defense for the next two ends, taking out most of the British rocks and forcing Muirhead to either take a single or clear out to blank the end. She blanked both ends and was still down 5-3 heading into the ninth.

Kaitlyn Lawes had the big shot in the ninth, a moderately difficult double takeout that left Britain few opportunities. Jones then left two rocks in the house with little chance for a double takeout, forcing Muirhead to draw for one.

Down 5-4 in the 10th and needing a steal, Muirhead ramped up the degree of difficulty, taking a timeout before her final shot and opting for an aggressive double takeout. That put the pressure on Jones, who would need to draw to the four-foot for the win. A miss by a couple of feet would send it to an extra end; a miss by a few feet would give Britain the win.

You don’t really think Jones missed, do you? Canada stayed unbeaten with the 6-4 win and swept into the final.

Sweden-Switzerland: World runner-up Margaretha Sigfridsson vs. two-time silver medalist Mirjam Ott. Sweden has an unusual alignment — Sigfridsson is both skip and lead, throwing the first rocks for her team, while vice-skip Maria Prytz throws last.

Prytz had a slight error in the first end, taking out the lone Swiss rock in the house but failing to get hers out, scoring one when they really wanted to keep the hammer. They traded doubles in the next two ends, and the middle ends were quiet. Prytz had a shot for two in the seventh but was a little heavy, settling for one and a 4-3 lead. Then Prytz couldn’t make a difficult double takeout in the eighth, leaving Ott a simple shot for two and a 5-4 lead.

The Swiss put several rocks in the house in the ninth end, but Ott wasn’t quite able to nudge a Swedish rock out of scoring position on a double takeout, leaving Prytz a takeout for two and a 6-5 lead.

The most dramatic setup for the 10th end is for the team trailing by one to have the hammer, and that’s what Switzerland had. But the 10th end was sloppy on both sides. Before the skips took their shots, Switzerland’s Christina Bertrup whiffed on a takeout, and Sweden’s Carmen Schaefer missed on a draw. Prytz and Ott weren’t quite able to do what they wanted on their first shots. Prytz came up short on her final draw. Ott missed badly with hers.

Sweden stole one for the 7-5 win, but you’d have to think Canada and Britain will be in better shape to take gold and silver in their respective finals.

Britain-Canada | Sweden-SwitzerlandScores and diagrams

Published by

Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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