The USA girls’s tire group wins the seventh consecutive gold medal on the Tokyo Olympics
SAITAMA, Japan – The Japanese women’s basketball team created a smart and efficient game plan, perfected it to create instructional videos from the cuts, and presented a list for anyone to shoot, dribble, and pass.
It was a brilliant display of basketball. But it wasn’t a game for Team USA.
Such is the state of affairs and has been for decades, when the Americans took their seventh consecutive gold medal in a 90-75 win on Sunday.
Two of the women who built and built this dynasty, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, have held their fifth gold medal in their hands and are the first international female basketball players to ever accomplish this feat. This is an impeccable tour of Athens, Beijing, London, Rio and now Tokyo as they demonstrated the global desire for victories and longevity that defined the program.
In their last game with the national team, the 55th consecutive Olympic victory, they made the first two baskets and then symbolically handed them over to the younger generation to take home. Brittney Griner crowned a memorable Olympic run with her best game in Tokyo, scoring 30 points in 14v18 shooting to lead the offensive attack.
Japan has a balanced scoring team and every player is a skilled 3 point shooter. They averaged 13 3 points per game at 41% shooting, numbers any team in the world would envy. You spread the ground, move around, cut back, and go open shots with a basic genius.
But no team in the world can keep up with the American size and the Japanese are particularly challenged. They had no response to the post presence of Griner and A’ja Wilson, who finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Or Breanna Stewart, who had 14 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
Team USA coach Dawn Staley played Bird and Taurasi for long good-bye minutes and it was tiring as the Japanese offensive really forces the opposing guards to create a lot of space. But Taurasi was very effective at feeding the post, collecting eight assists with seven points and eight rebounds.
Even so, Japan was just six down towards the end of the first quarter and was under 10 ahead in the third quarter. The size of Team USA disrupted Japan’s outside airspace and they were unable to produce as many good exterior views as usual.
Japan, which entered the tournament as number 10 in the world rankings and was happy about the silver medal, was led by captain Maki Takada with 17 points.