DimeMag

Team USA’s Size Overwhelmed Japan En Route To Its Seventh Consecutive Gold Medal

For the seventh consecutive Olympic Games, the United States is the gold standard in women’s basketball. The Americans took on Japan on Saturday night in the championship game and used its considerable size advantage to take down their opponents, 90-75, to give the program its seventh gold medal in a row, with two players on this team — Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi — there for each of the last five.

Three players shouldered most of the scoring load for the United States. Brittney Griner led the way with 30 points, five rebounds, and three blocks. She took 18 shots and made 14 of them. There was nothing that Japan could do to keep her from filling it up except hope that she didn’t realize they couldn’t stop her. As you can guess, this did not happen.

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To keep with the theme of the evening, two more ultra-skilled players with the ability to shoot over Japan’s defense also showed out. A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart were dominant on both ends of the floor — the former had 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five blocks, while the latter had 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocks. They were video game-esque stat lines from two of the best basketball players in the world who came up gigantic on the biggest stage.

That trio accounted for 70 percent of the team’s points, 59 percent of its rebounds, and all but one of its blocked shots on the night. It was as dominant of a collective performance as you will see out of three players who all take the floor at the same time.

The other two members of the team’s starting five made themselves a bit of history. Bird and Taurasi, both of whom should probably be put in the Hall fo Fame already despite their careers still happening, won gold medal No. 5 alongside one another. No players in American basketball’s decorated history have won more. Both scored seven points on the evening.

There will, presumably, be a team that is able to beat the United States with a gold medal on the line sometime in the future. Perhaps that team, whomever it may end up being, will establish itself in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. But until then, the American reign of dominance will continue, and while the overwhelming likelihood is that someone is going to beat them in the knockout round of the Olympics at some undetermined point in the future, it seems like a pretty safe bet to say that No. 8 will be on its way next time around.

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