The five time defending Olympic champion USA women’s basketball team has been marching toward this hopefully golden moment ever since they opened the Games on August 7 with a 121-56 blowout win in Group B play with Senegal.
The Team USA women then smashed Spain 103-63, Serbia 110-84, Canada 81-51, and China 102-65 to exit Group B play with a 5-0 record.
They then entered the knockout rounds and rolled to a 110-64 win over Japan on August 16 and punched their ticket to the gold medal game with an 86-67 win over FIBA number four ranked France to get to the Olympic basketball final for the sixth time since 1996.
This matchup for the gold medal is with a familiar foe in Spain. In addition to Team USA taking them down in the group stage, they vanquished the Spanish women in the 2014 FIBA World Championship final.
So how impressive and dominant is this 2016 Olympic version of Team USA?
*They set the all time USA women point record (121) in the Senegal win.
*Set the US record for largest point differential in a game with the 65 point win over Senegal
*They became the first women’s Olympic squad to score 100 points in three straight games.
*Set a new Olympic record of 40 assists in one game after tying the Olympic record of 36 assists set by the Soviet Union back in 1976.
* Have beaten their Rio Olympic competition by an average of 38.4 points
A lot is on the line for the Team USA women in addition to capturing their sixth consecutive gold medal since the 1996 Atlanta Games. Also on the line is continued women’s worldwide basketball supremacy, the FIBA number one ranking and auto qualifying spot in the 2019 FIBA championships, and their Olympic winning streak that has now reached 48 straight games since they won the bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992.
There is concern in the Team USA camp with point guard Sue Bird being day to day with a sprained knee suffered in the second quarter of the Japan game, but they are determined to complete their mission of being on the top step of the Olympic platform when this game is over.
If by some miracle Spain wins this game, it would be the biggest upset in Olympic basketball history and rank with the 1972 Munich gold medal game versus the Soviet Union the USA men had stolen from them in the final seconds.
Don’t think this gold medal game with Spain will be that close, seeing that Team USA beat Spain by 40 points in pool play and the closest anyone has been to them was France in the semifinal, and they beat France by 19 points without Sue Bird in the lineup.
But Spain won’t be rolling over for them either, and have some game film to study as a result of that pool play game. Game film cuts both ways, and we have Geno Auriemma on our bench and they don’t.
We’ll see if Team USA can win number 49 in a row today and their sixth straight gold medal at 1:30 PM CDT.