Rio de Janeiro: The powerhouse United States women’s basketball team was nearly as dominant in the final as it was in every other contest at the Rio Games, winning its sixth straight Olympic gold with a 101-72 victory on Saturday.
Spain, which secured its first every medal in this competition with a convincing 68-54 win over Serbia in Thursday semi-finals, was competitive with the Americans in the early going and only trailed 21-17 after the first quarter, Efe news reported. But the US team switched to a higher gear and took a 49-32 lead at the intermission against Lucas Mondelo’s squad, which not only found itself far behind on the scoreboard but had two of its best inside players — Astou Ndour and Laura Nicholls — in foul trouble.
Diana Taurasi made a pair of 3-pointers to give the Americans a double-digit lead in the second quarter before Maya Moore took over shortly before halftime to essentially put the contest out of reach. The second half was just a formality as the Americans steadily stretched their lead against an inferior Spanish squad that had already achieved more than expected by defeating Serbia, China, Senegal and Canada in the round-robin phase before taking out Turkey and Serbia in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen led the US with 17 points apiece, while Torrens had a game-high 18 points for Spain. With the victory, the US won its eighth gold overall in the Summer Games and its 49th consecutive game in Olympic competition. In Rio, the Americans won all eight games by an average of more than 37 points. Only France, which lost to the US 67-86 in Thursday’s semi-final, managed to lose by fewer than 25 points. –IANS
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