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.
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Author: Elliott Almond