THE United States have claimed yet another Gold Medal in the women’s basketball, defeating home nation and surprise packet Japan by 15 points in the decider. Whilst the Japanese walk away with a silver medal following a superb tournament – their first medal in basketball, the United States won its seventh consecutive Gold Medal in the event.
United States (90) defeated Japan (75)
The world number ones asserted their authority from the opening tip-off, piling on 23 points to 14 to lead by nine at the first break. They extended that margin to double-digits by half-time in what was a high-scoring stanza, 27-25. Another consistent quarter from the United States saw them score 25-17 in the third term and extend the lead out to a match-winning 19 points. To Japan’s credit, the home team dug team and won the final term 19-15, though it was too little, too late, and they had to settle for a 15-point defeat, 75-90.
The United States were far more accurate from the field than Japan, hitting 54 to 36 per cent of their field goals. They only scored four of 13 from long-range – half of the amount of makes from the Japanese – though the losers also only scored at 26 per cent from beyond the arc. United States had more rebounds (44-38) and assists (28-16), as well as dominating in the paint (58-40) and having more fast break points (19-7). Japan had less overall turnovers (10-12), and scored more second chance points (19-13), as well as far more off the bench (40-13). The United States never conceded the lead, blowing it out to as much as 25 points at one stage, and never looked like losing in a dominant performance from the tournament favourites who did not drop a game.
Britney Griner was outstanding with a whopping 30 points for the winners, shooting 14 of 18 from the field in a blistering display. She also amassed five rebounds and two assists in the victory. A’ja Wilson had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Breanna Stewart picked up a double-double of 14 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Diana Taurasi (seven points, eight assists and six rebounds) and Sue Bird (seven points, three rebounds and three assists) both contributed well.
Maki Takada was the top scorer for Japan with 17 points, but it was Nako Motohashi (16 points – four of five from three-point range – five rebounds and four assists) who really stood out. They were the only two Japanese to hit double-figure points, as Monica Okoye (four points, eight rebounds) and Rui Machida (eight points, six assists) were impacting in other ways outside the scoreboard.
Picture credit: Kareem Elgazzar, USA Today