Going for gold, again
There are very few things in sports that are a sure thing, but the United States women’s basketball team winning their sixth straight gold medal is as close as you can get.
So far in Rio, the U.S. women are undefeated – not only winning every game, but doing so in staggering, record-setting fashion. They’ve trounced their competition by an average of 38.4 points. They’ve broken or set the following records:
- Extending their Olympic winning streak to 48 games
- Becoming the first team to score 100 points in three straight games
- Recording 40 assists in one game to break their own record of 36 assists in a contest, which they set earlier in the 2016 tournament (the previous record was 36, set by the Soviet Union in 1976)
- Scoring the most points in U.S. women’s Olympic basketball history with 121
- Setting the U.S. record for biggest point differential with a 65-point win over Senegal
The closest game the United States has played was in the semifinal against France, where they won by 19 points. It’s an understatement to say they’ve cruised through this tournament, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
The United States women are led by Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings, all of whom are going for their record-tying fourth straight Olympic medal. Bird and Catchings are considered among the best women to have every played their positions.
Taurasi? Well, she’s considered one of the best women to have ever picked up a basketball. At 34, Taurasi is leading the United States in scoring (15.4 points per game) and has been historically good from long range. She set the record for most threes in a single Olympic tournament and extended her record for most career Olympic three-pointers. Taurasi also set the U.S. Olympic record for most threes in a single game with six – a record she previously held.
Add Elena Delle Donne, the 2015 WNBA MVP, and Brittney Griner, the 2015 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and Sylvia Fowles, the 2015 WNBA Finals MVP, and the team is almost unstoppable.
Did we mention Breanna Stewart? She’s only looking to become the first player to win four straight NCAA titles followed up by an Olympic gold medal. She’s averaging 7.7 points in just under 11 minutes per game.
Still, it’s almost a crime not to mention the accolades of the other five players on the team. In short, they have a five-time WNBA All-Star (Lindsey Whalen), another WNBA MVP (Tina Charles), two more WNBA Finals MVPs (Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus) and a two-time WNBA scoring and steals champion (Angel McCoughtry).
All of this is to say that if Spain – who the United States has already beaten by 40 points in Rio – wins the gold medal, it’ll be the greatest upset in the history of the Olympics. No, better yet, it’ll be the greatest upset in the history of upsets.
But, they won’t.