Brittney Griner scored 30 points on 14-of-18 shooting and the United States women’s basketball team won its seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal with a 90-75 victory over Japan on Sunday, August 8, in Tokyo.
A’ja Wilson contributed 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocked shots for the United States, who has won 55 straight Olympic games. Breanna Stewart recorded 14 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocked shots.
“It’s 20 years of sacrifice and putting everything aside and just wanting to win. It’s never easy playing on this team, the pressure, but this group found a way to win,” Diana Taurasi said.
Veterans Sue Bird (7 points) and Taurasi (7 points, 8 assists) each won their fifth gold medals for the USA.
“This one, it’s seven in a row. It’s just not about us,” Bird said. “It’s about all the players that either set the stage or are on it right now.”
Maki Takada scored 17 points and Nako Motohashi added 16 for Japan.
The United States also defeated Japan, 86-69, in pool play on July 30.
The Americans shot 53.6% from the field in the gold-medal game, including 4-of-13 from three-point range. USA blocked 12 shots while Japan had none. Griner had 3 rejections.
Japan shot 36.4% from the field and was 8-of-31 from behind the arc. Motohashi was 4-of-5 from long range.
The United States were up by 9 early in the third quarter before delivering the knockout punch with a 21-6 burst.
Wilson scored back-to-back baskets as the United States opened up a 58-43 lead with 7:28 left in the quarter.
Bird’s three-pointer and Wilson’s basket pushed the advantage to 68-47 with 3:30 left. Just 81 seconds later, Stewart canned a three-pointer to cap the burst and make it 73-49 with 2:09 remaining.
The United States led 75-56 entering the final stanza before Griner and Wilson opened the period with baskets.
A short time later, Stewart converted a three-point play and Griner added a basket as the advantage reached a game-high 25 points at 84-59 with 5:52 remaining.
Griner had 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the first half as the United States held a 50-39 lead. USA shot 62.9% in the half while Japan hit on just 39.5%.
The Americans held an early 18-5 lead before settling for a 23-14 lead after one quarter. Japan was within 38-32 after a three-pointer by Naho Miyoshi with 4:05 left in the half before the Americans rattled off the next 8 points en route to the 11-point lead at the break. – Rappler.com