For all the talk about the American men’s Olympic basketball team, it was the U.S. women who dominated their way to the gold medal at the London Games in “Dream Team” style.
For the fifth time in succession, Team USA’s women celebrated on the gold medal stand, having dominated their opponents by an average of nearly 30 points.
Their 86-56 demolition of France exemplified the dominance the United States holds over the world in women’s hoops.
Said Teresa Edwards, a five-time Olympian basketball star: “The legacy is real. What these kids have been doing is amazing. Without much time to practice. In the middle of the WNBA season. And they look good. It’s like the whole world knows who we are. I’m really proud of them.”
The U.S. left no concerns about the outcome against France en route to its 41st straight Olympic victory since taking the bronze medal in 1992.
Candace Parker scored 21 points, including eight straight during the game-changing run in the second quarter.
Only one team has stayed within single digits of them, and they’ve lost just once in major international competitions, to Russia in the semifinals of the 2006 world championship.
Edwards, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie got the amazing run started and now Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings have continued it.
With young stars Parker, Maya Moore and Tina Charles a big part of the success in London it doesn’t look like the run will end anytime soon.
Tamika Catchings said the Americans “just wanted to keep that legacy going.”
“It’s not easy to just be put together and be expected to win a gold medal,” Taurasi said. “It’s a special feeling.”
While Parker — who also had 11 rebounds — was providing the offense, the Americans turned up their defense, holding France to just one basket over the final 7:25 of the half.
“We always felt like as long as we played our best, we’d be all right,” Bird said.
In one sequence, Catchings got a steal, passed it to Bird, who hit Moore in perfect stride for a finger-roll lay-in down the lane. It only got worse from there for France, which was making its Olympic debut.
With the victory, Moore joined an exclusive club. She’s just the seventh player to win titles in college, the WNBA, the FIBA world championship and the Olympics. Teammates Bird, Taurasi, and Swin Cash also achieved the milestone.