Women's Basketball: US Wins 6th Straight Olympic Gold

The 101-72 defeat of Spain marked 49 Olympic wins in a row for the U.S. women's basketball taem

The U.S. women's basketball team won a sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal Saturday, trouncing Spain 101-72 in Rio.

The squad is one gold away from tying the U.S. men's basketball team's seven consecutive golds between 1936 and 1968. 

Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen led the way for the defending champions, each racking up 17 points Saturday. Taurasi was 6/10 from the field, sinking five of seven three point attempts. 

"When you think of USA, you think of basketball," Taurasi said in an interview after the final whistle. "We bleed basketball."

Despite the loss, Spain's silver is the country's first medal in women's basketball. Alba Torres led all shooters with 18 points in over 35 minutes of play.

Taurasi and the Americans played nearly flawless basketball in Rio, and were never challenged. Only one of those decided by single digits.

Closure to their journey Saturday had Taurasi and coach Geno Auriemma both fighting back tears.

Auriemma put his five former UConn Huskie players on the court at the same time for the first time in the Olympics and that group started the 16-3 run that blew the game open.

It's been quite a run for this edition of the U.S. women's basketball dynasty. This group of 12 has combined for 29 Olympic gold medals — the most ever for any team.

The two teams met in the preliminary pool and the Americans won by 40 points. The U.S. did have a healthy Sue Bird for that game. She missed the semifinal win over France because of a sprained right knee capsule but practiced on Friday and played nearly 17 minutes in the final, scoring three points.

The Americans won their first seven games by an average of nearly 40 points and were scoring 102.3 points a contest. The U.S. is on a 49-game Olympic winning streak since the bronze medal game in 1992.

This game marked the end of Tamika Catchings' Olympic career. She is retiring at the end of the WNBA season. Taurasi and Bird have hinted that this will be their final Olympics although both could still return in four years in Tokyo. The trio joined Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards as the only Olympians to win four gold medals.

Even if the three players don't wear the red, white and blue again, the future remains bright for the U.S. Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Stewart all won their first Olympic golds. Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Angel McCoughtry should be back in 2020 as well, providing a solid nucleus for USA Basketball to build on.

Earlier Saturday, Serbia capped off its first Olympics in women's basketball with a bronze medal by beating France 70-63, its players counting down the final minute before running to midcourt to celebrate.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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