US women win seventh basketball gold

A blistering United States outplayed hosts Japan to win a seventh successive women’s basketball gold on Tokyo 2020’s final day of action.

Celebrated veterans Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi become the first players to win five Olympic basketball titles.

It means the side are unbeaten in 55 Olympic matches, with their last defeat was in the 1992 semi-final.

Japan earn silver in their best-ever finish, with France taking the bronze.

Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner was the dominant force during the 90-75 win, scoring a game-high 30 points with five rebounds and two assists.

“Seven in a row, I mean that’s just amazing. That just goes to show everything USA basketball’s about,” Griner said.

They had a 50-39 lead at half-time and there was no stopping them, with a valiant Japan settling for second-place and a best-ever Olympic finish.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi become the first players ever, (male or female), to win five Olympic basketball titles.
Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird become the first players to win five Olympic basketball titles.

The Americans’ seventh title equalled the longest streak by a team in any Olympic sport, matching the US men’s basketball team between 1936 and 1968.

The US men’s team also won gold in Tokyo.

“What can you say? It’s 20 years of sacrifice, of putting everything aside and just wanting to win” Taurasi said after the victory.

“It’s never easy playing on this team [with] the pressure, but this group found a way to win and I’m just happy this group got to enjoy it.”

Taurasi, 39, who has led the Phoenix Mercury to three WNBA championships, and Bird, 40, who has won four WNBA titles with the Seattle Storm, both won their first gold medals at Athens in 2004.

That team also featured current national coach Dawn Staley, who claimed three gold medals as a player.

Taurasi hinted she was not ready to leave the Olympic set-up, ending her post match interview with US outlet NBC saying, “See you in Paris!”

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