Reporter Doug: Good as gold: US women win 6th straight Olympic hoops title
Geno Auriemma and Diana Taurasi shared a long, emotional embrace. Mission accomplished.
Teresa Walker, AP, Olympic gold puts Griner in exclusive company
Griner also plans to keep this gold medal very close and in a place of honor.
“This is going up in my house. I don’t have any medals, any jerseys, I don’t have anything up at my house,” Griner said. “This is going up my house. This will be the only thing up in my house.”
Johnette Howard, ESPN: U.S. sets gold bar even higher, they’re ‘not going anywhere’
They kept hearing they’ve been routing everyone because their competition is getting worse, and they kept politely trying to tell us we have it all wrong. “It’s a little bit disrespectful, really,” said Diana Taurasi, one of the stars of the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team. And she’s right. The lazy take is the American team met little to no resistance on the way to its sixth straight gold medal Saturday, when it steamrollered Spain, 101-72, the same way it flattened everyone else it played in this eight-game tournament.
But the accurate explanation is the level of basketball the American women now play is as good, maybe better, than it has ever been.
Sam Amick, USAToday: USA women win sixth consecutive Olympic basketball gold medal
Even for fans who may not enjoy the WNBA action that all 12 of these women will now resume, theirs is the rare super team that more than lives up to the billing. The chemistry issues that dogged their U.S. male counterparts during these Games did not apply to the women, Auriemma blending the best in a seamless and collectively selfless way. Taurasi is nothing short of electric, having spent the past 16 years on the global stage showcasing the rare combination of play and personality that makes her such the entertainer.
It was all there to see in the finale.
Carl Ademac, SNY: Taurasi, Bird earn fourth Olympic gold; Auriemma wins second
“It’s just special,” Team USA forward Maya Moore said. “It’s one thing to do something unexpected, but it’s another thing to do what you’re expected to do — year after year, game after game, quarter after quarter. And, this team didn’t get complacent. “I think that’s a sign of a true champion, someone who loves the game and plays for the right reasons. Every quarter that we stepped on the court, we respected the game, we respected each other and we did everything we needed to do to deserve this gold.”
Swish Appeal: Team USA’s Golden Girls: Bird, Catchings and Taurasi
“Not many people have an opportunity to play in the Olympics… One, let alone two, three and four,” said Catchings.
“I’m blessed for all the opportunities I’ve had and all the lives that I’ve been able to impact by using the platform of basketball.”
Teddy Greenstein: Chicago Tribune: Sky’s Elena Delle Donne on first Olympic gold medal: ‘Somebody pinch me’
The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne played 16 nearly flawless minutes Saturday, hitting all three field-goal attempts, including one off the glass after taking contact. She drew some oohs when she swatted a shot by Spain’s tall and talented Astou Nador.
But asked for her favorite individual highlight, she replied: “A couple of those 3s Diana Taurasi was hitting. I just had to laugh and shake my head. I idolized her growing up, and to be able to play alongside her and see some of that craziness that I saw when I was a young kid falling in love with the game, that was really cool for me.”
Sporting News: With sixth straight gold, USA women deliver a tough message: ‘We’re not going anywhere’
It was more domination from an Auriemma team, which has gotten to be all too familiar on the college level, where his Connecticut teams have won nine national titles, including the last four in a row.
“When I got asked to do this, I thought, I must be crazy,” Auriemma said. “I go from a college program where it’s, ‘You’re bad for basketball because you win too much.’ Now I go to a program that, people are going to say, ‘You’re bad for international basketball because you win too much.’ The parallels are unbelievable. At the end of each four-year cycle, it’s not like you had to do a lot with players like this, but when you add up all four years, you look back and say, ‘That was a lot.’”
Yahoo Sports: With another gold, U.S. women’s basketball adds to legacy as Olympics’ most dominant team
U.S. rowers have now won 11 straight world or Olympic titles in women’s eight after finishing two seconds ahead of Great Britain on August 13. The U.S. women’s gymnastics team captured team gold and might have swept all three spots on the all-around podium had more than two athletes from each country been allowed to compete. And the U.S. women’s water polo team beat its six opponents in Rio by an average of 6.8 goals, surpassing its mark in 2012 when it tied Spain in pool play and survived three close knockout-round matches to win gold.
Impressive as those achievements are, none of those teams can match the vice grip the U.S. women’s basketball team has put on its sport for more than two decades now. The last 25 Olympic victories the Americans have claimed have each come by 10 or more points and the average margin in those games has been 37.
“They’re so good, so good,” Spanish center Laia Palau said.
Added Spanish guard Silva Dominguez, “To play against them, you’ve got to be perfect. If you’re not, you can’t win.”
LA Times: US women’s basketball team isn’t too good for its own good, it’s simply the best ever
It wasn’t until the Americans stepped on the medal stand, some fighting back tears, others simply beaming, that the several thousand fans remaining all seemed to realize the magnitude of witnessing arguably the greatest women’s team ever. They broke into a prolonged standing ovation that heartened an American team weary of hearing how they weren’t any fun.
“You guys are here now, we’re doing something,” said Taurasi, staring into a media crowd with a shrug. “Basketball is really important to a lot of people in the United States and no one takes it more seriously than the women. We play year-round, we sacrifice a lot of things to make sure we bring this home, and you know what? It’s OK, we’re happy.”
Today’s Fastbreak: Team USA women cruise to gold medal victory
The team wreaked havoc throughout the entire showcase with its closest win coming by 19 points in a win over France. The women’s club is certainly in a tier of its own. Via NBC Olympics, here’re the updated records that Team USA either shattered or set following Saturday’s contest:
- Extending their Olympic winning streak to 49 games
- Becoming the first team to score 100 points in four 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
Jeff Zillgitt, USAToday:
Catchings, Taurasi and Bird join Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards as the only U.S. basketball players to win that many gold medals.
“The players that you’re with, that’s what makes it so special,” Catchings said. “Winning the gold is awesome. But when we think about the sweat and tears and hard work, looking to the right, looking to left on the podium, seeing the flag go up, hearing the national anthem being played, it never gets old.”
Catchings, Bird and Taurasi will be forever linked to one of the greatest and most dominant runs in Olympic history amid a streak of six consecutive golds for the U.S.
Blue Star: Team USA Women’s Basketball Team creates Huge Gap with the Rest of the World
The scores of the United States’ women’s basketball games in this Olympics have been eye opening.
Team USA dismantled Spain, 101-72, here Saturday at Carioca Arena I, cruising to a sixth consecutive gold medal in a game that looked like just another mismatch against the best team in Europe. The United States averaged 102.1 points in this tournament, just short of the record 102.4 points the great 1996 team averaged, winning all eight of its games by an average of nearly 40 points.
Excelle: USA Basketball’s sisterhood of dominance only getting better
The strength with which USA Basketball turned away the Spain challenge in Saturday’s gold medal game—and the speed, with this one over by the second quarter—provided plenty of time for observers to consider the legacy of this 2016 team as well as what comes next.
There are a pair of ideas that are difficult to reconcile on these two fronts. The more impressed one is with the 2016 USA Basketball team, how singular their accomplishments and uniquely unmatched their diversity of talent, the easier it is to fret about what comes next for the Americans.
Barry Svrluga, Washington Post: U.S. women’s basketball team is unmatchable, on the court and at these Games
What must it be like to compete against these women, the dozen who make up the U.S. basketball team? They are tall and strong, quick and agile, skilled and fierce. These Rio Olympics have been defined, understandably, by Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, by Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. The truth: No athletes here are more dominant and peerless than the American women who play basketball.
“I’m in awe,” guard Seimone Augustus said, “all the time when I look around — at everyone.”
USA Basketball: U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Claims Sixth Straight Olympic Gold With Dominating 101-72 Win Over Spain
“Obviously it was an incredible tournament for us,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma. “From the very first game that we played to today, with very few exceptions I thought we played basketball at a really high level. I can’t say enough about our players. How quickly they’ve come together, how much they’ve been able to accomplish in less than a month that we’ve been together.
“It wasn’t as easy as sometimes it looked, these last two games especially with France and today against Spain,” Auriemma continued. “These are very good teams that we’re playing, and you could see that it wasn’t just a cake walk, that it was a struggle. Then finally, because of our depth and because of the experience on our team, we were able to separate ourselves. But the way we played, we respected our opponents and we respected the game itself, we earned a lot of respect from a lot of people around the world, and I’m really proud of that.”
Photos and additional quotes:
Reflect on Athens in 2004 when you began this Olympic journey:
Bird: It seems like a really long time ago and in some ways it is. We knew the three of us were on that team to learn, to see what it meant to represent the United States at an Olympic event and to take the torch and run with it. We were really lucky to have the older players, the veteran players on that team, show us. Both with their play and with their words. We saw Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley, Tina Thompson, these are Hall of Fame players, we saw them not care about points, not care about rebounds, not care about any stat on the state sheet and only care about the gold medal. And we learned from that. I think hopefully we’ve done them proud as well, because that’s exactly how we played in each of the Olympics that we’ve been in. We just go out there and try to win.
The Future, from Reporter Doug: US women look to keep Olympic basketball dominance goingUS women look to keep Olympic basketball dominance going
Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Elena Delle Donne won gold medals in their Olympic debuts. Throw in two-time gold medalists Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Angel McCoughtry – who should all be back in 2020 – and there is another strong nucleus to build on for the Tokyo Games.
“I feel really confident about it,” Bird said of the future of the women’s program. “There are some question marks with the point guard spot, but I don’t think it will be an issue. They have plenty of time to figure it out. The three youngsters on this team, second timers, there’s such a large amount of talent in our country. We push each other every summer in the WNBA and show each other what it takes.”
Boston Globe: What’s left for Geno Auriemma to conquer?
“I wouldn’t trade all the winning for anything in the world, obviously,” Auriemma said. “You do have to keep somewhat reinventing yourself. You don’t ever want to just roll in there and say, ‘Well, this is what we’ve done and it’s been good enough, so let’s keep doing it this way.’ You’re always trying to stay current and stay above the competition because the more you win, the harder they work.”
Ken Davis, Today’s U Sports: One more golden moment for Taurasi, Bird and Geno
Sue Bird swears she was not star struck the first time she met coach Geno Auriemma. It was 1998 and she was a junior at Christ The King High School in New York, where she would win two state championships before beginning her college career at the University of Connecticut.
Bird was in Auriemma’s office after a UConn-Pittsburgh game and she wasn’t one bit nervous. That’s her story. And all these years later, Bird is sticking to it.
LATE ADD ON from Dan Bickley, Arizona Central w/ a couple, of great quotes (h/t @DT3sBun ):
The postgame scene was profound. Mercury center Brittney Griner held out her medal, saying, “I’m addicted to this now.” She hugged head coach Geno Auriemma so hard that she actually lifted him off the ground.
“It was a long way (up for him),” Griner said. “I said, ‘You OK there? Did you get a little woozy?’ ”
Taurasi was the engine and leader of the entire outfit, making 33 3-pointers during the tournament. She hit two in succession on Saturday that broke the game open. She gave a Michael Jordan-like shrug after another. And she felt robbed by the refs who cost her a sixth trey.
“All I shoot is 3s,” she said. “Why would he give me a two? He said I touched (the line) with my nose.”
Lee has some nice quotes from Spain.
Julie Foudy: The Women of Team USA. Lordy – imagine what would happen if US universities were actually in compliance with Title IX (as it applies to athletics.)?
BTW: HUGE shout out to Spain and Serbia – awesome tournament and awesome commitment. Here’s to the continued support of their federations.
FIBA: Milovanovic: “This means the world to us” and Milica Dabovic’s bronze miracle
Milica Dabovic is riding off into the sunset of international basketball after “a miracle” bronze medal winning performance by Serbia.
Having played at her first EuroBasket Women 13 years ago, it took more than a decade but the 34-year-old captain first helped her national side join the upper echelon of teams with a EuroBasket Women title in 2015.
So, before we get back to the mad dash to the WNBA playoffs, take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of this amazing team, their stellar coaching staff, and their incredible USA Basketball support staff. It’s been quite a ride.
Are you saving up for Spain 2018? I sure am!
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