US Women win a record seventh basketball Gold Medal
The USA, who edged out France 87-82 win to strike Gold Medal in the Men’s final at the same venue yesterday, saw their Women too battle to the very end in a nail-biting finish.
The win enabled the USA’s Women’s Basketball Team to extend their Gold-winning run to seven straight Olympic Games.
The USA dominated from the start, securing a 23-14 lead in the first quarter that they never relinquished to keep their unbeaten record in Olympic competition since Barcelona 1992, intact.
The final showdown was the second time the USA and Japan have met at Tokyo Olympics, with the USA beating their opponents by 17 points in the first game compared to 15 in today’s encounter.
The architect of the American win was Brittney Griner who had an excellent final, scoring 30 points. A’ja Wilson netted 19 in a fine support, despite the last defence by Japan.
Maki Takada scored 17 points for the hosts, along with Nako Motohashi adding a further 16. Despite losing the final in a thriller, a Silver Medal on home soil represents an excellent achievement, with a fifth-place finish at Montreal 1976 their best until today.
Today’s performance marked Japan’s second Silver Medal at an international tournament, after they finished second place at the Women’s Basketball World Cup, way back in 1975.
“Seven-in-a-row, I mean that’s just amazing. That just goes to show everything USA basketball is about,” Griner said but also paid tribute to their Japanese opponents.
“Japan’s hard to guard. They can shoot it anywhere on the court. They’re a tough guard and they’re a really good team. I’m just glad we’ve got this Gold Medal,” she said.
And Diana Taurasi, who has now won a total of five Olympic Games Basketball Gold Medals since Athens 2004 was a happy lady.
“What can you say? It is 20 years of sacrifice, of putting everything aside and just wanting to win. It’s never easy playing on this team with the pressure on all the time.
But this group found a way to win and I’m just happy this group got to enjoy it,” she said.