Olympic gold queens, unbeatable since Atlanta 1996, the players of the United States national team Olympic champions were proclaimed for the seventh time in a row by beating Japan 90-75, the surprise of the tournament that achieved a historic silver for Japanese basketball.
The Americans chained their seventh gold and matched the men’s team’s streak, when it was gold between 1936 and 1968 uninterruptedly, with an unbeatable inside game for all his rivals and that in the final it was again, with 30 points and 5 rebounds from Brittney Griner, 19 and 7 from A’ja Wilson and a ‘double-double’ from Breanna Stewart (14 points and 14 rebounds).
The power of the United States and the WNBA continues to turn the distance between ‘Team USA’ and the rest into a stark reality. With this Sunday, there are 55 consecutive victories that contemplate an American team that he has to go back almost 30 years to remember his last defeat, in the semifinals of Barcelona 1992.
A sung gold and a capital surprise silver, because Japan stood in the final by defeating France twice, one in the group stage and one in the semifinals, leaving another powerful team like the Belgian on the way. Proud until the end, they attacked even when the duel was already sentenced, led by center Maki Takada (17 points) and point guards Nako Motohashi (16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists) and Rui Machida (8 points and 6 assists).
The United States met the forecasts after a start in which it left no room for doubt: Wilson and Griner started producing piecework, Machida missed a single basket under the rim and Griner’s defense on the talented Japanese point guard (40 centimeters difference between the two) covered any shot (14-5, min. 5).
When the first Japanese triple wanted to enter, from Takada at 6 minutes after four previous failures and raising the applause of the army of volunteers that filled one of the funds, the Americans had already made their way (18-8). The success filled the Asians with courage, who chained two good defenses and as many triples. Jewell Loyd closed the wound for a 23-14 quarter final.
Motohashi took the reins of the situation and with triples and passes the Japanese got into the match (34-27, m.15). Not only did they begin to undermine the American defense with their mobility, but they even managed to salvage some rebounds (the stat showed a surprising 18-18 in sacks at halftime). The 50-39 intermission left the duel alive.
The United States has cemented its passage through Tokyo 2020 by breaking many games in the third quarter, and the same roadmap applied to the final.
With Wilson and Griner applying the law of their height and power and Sue Bird, in her last match at the Olympic Games with her fifth gold almost in her pocket, hitting from 6.75 meters, the Americans accelerated to exceed 20 points ( 70-49, m.27) while the Machida-Motohashi double base did not work for Japan. The 75-56 that closed the third almost put the medal around the neck of the United States.
The Americans only had to maintain their differences to close the duel, while Japan maintained its pride until the end and even ended up winning in the final quarter (15-19) to applause from an audience of volunteers, closing a final 90-75 with honor. The blazers are made of gold, but Japanese silver has shades of deed.
– Data sheet:
90 – United States (23 + 27 + 25 + 15): Bird (6), Taurasi (7), Stewart (14) Wilson (19), Griner (30) -initial quintet-, Loyd (3), Diggins, Atkins (2), Gray (6), Collier, Fowles (2) and Charles.
75 – Japan (14 + 25 + 17 + 19): Machida (8), Hayashi (4), Miyazawa (3), Akaho (3), Takada (17) -initial quintet-, Nagaoka (2), Miyoshi (5), Motohashi (16), Todo (2), Mawuli (8), Miyazaki (3) and Okoye (4).
Referees: Manuel Mazzoni (ITA), Andreia Silva (BRA) and Maripier Malo (CAN). Without eliminated.
Incidents: final of the women’s basketball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, played at the Saitama Super Arena, without an audience due to the sanitary measures against the coronavirus pandemic.