TOKYO — The United States made Olympic history on Sunday afternoon in Tokyo, defeating Japan 90-75 to capture the seventh straight Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball for America.
The victory was the 55th straight for the American women, the most in the Olympic games. Since defeating Brazil to capture gold in 1996, no country has even come close to taking down the mighty USA.
Japan did not quit despite trailing by over 20 points. In the end, Brittney Griner and Team USA proved to be too much for anyone in these games. Japan’s silver medal is the first for the country.
“Unreal,” Griner said following the game. “To be a part of this … it means everything, obviously.”
Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird now have 10 gold medals between them, the most of any basketball player — men or women.
“We’ve had to reinvent ourselves,” said Bird, who is playing in her last Olympics. “Because as you get older, things change, your body gets older, and you have to change with it.”
Griner led the USA with 30 points and Breanna Stewart added 4 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists.
The Americans took control of the game in the third quarter, going on an 18-6 run to take a 21-point lead. The USA 25-17 overall in the frame and led 75-56 going into the fourth quarter.
“It’s really actually something you can’t explain, but the fact that you were able to kind of feel these emotions beyond the podium with our teammates, celebrate this gold,” Stewart said. “The journey wasn’t easy, but to be able to get here, get the gold, we took care of business.”
While this is Bird’s final Olympics, Taurasi teased she will return to the world stage in Paris for the 2024 Summer Games.
“I don’t think there’s anybody else I’d rather do it with,” Bird said. “We just have so much fun. I love you.”