U.S. women’s basketball team goes big to win seventh consecutive gold medal

Brittney Griner was too tall a challenge Saturday night for Japan as the U.S. women’s basketball won a record-tying seventh Olympic gold medal in an impressive sendoff to the Tokyo Games.

The Americans’ 90-75 victory was a big one beyond its 55th in a row in Olympic games. The women joined the U.S. men’s basketball program (1936-1968) as the winningest team in Olympic history in any sport.

It also gave guards Sue Bird and Diane Taurasi their fifth gold medals — the most of any basketball player, man or woman, in Olympic history.

More than history, it was a game about height. Japan averaged 5-9 with only two players taller than 6-feet.

The Japanese tried front-court pressure and double teams to stop the Americans’ imposing post game of 6-foot-9 Griner and 6-4 A’ja Wilson.

Griner made 14 of 18 shots for 30 points while Wilson had 19 and seven rebounds. Breanna Stewart added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Griner made 9 of 10 shots as the United States built an 11-point halftime lead.

The Americans expanded the margin in the third quarter. Wilson made it 58-43 with 6:53 left and Bird’s 3-pointer a little later extended the lead to 66-47.

SAITAMA, JAPAN – AUGUST 08: Chelsea Gray #8 of Team United States drives to the basket against Rui Machida #13 of Team Japan during the first half of the Women’s Basketball final game on day sixteen of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games at Saitama Super Arena on August 08, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 

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Author: Elliott Almond