Let’s be honest, it was never in doubt.
Where the men have struggled at times, the women have never been in any real danger throughout the Rio 2016 basketball tournament and the gold medal game was no exception as they breezed past Spain 101-72 to capture a sixth straight Olympic women’s basketball success.
While Spain improved on their 103-63 hammering to the U.S. in the group stages, they were always going to be second best the moment that Americans posted an 8-0 run in the second quarter to stretch their lead from 27-24 to a Diana Taurasi three making it 35-24.
It was the USA’s first double-digit lead that they enjoyed and the narrow 21-17 advantage after the first quarter had suddenly turned into a 49-32 cushion at the half and the capacity crowd inside the Carioca Arena knew the game was over.
Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen both led the USA with 17 points with the latter capping off her best offensive showing in Rio with a gold.
Maya Moore added 14 for the victorious Americans.
Despite the loss, Spain have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. This was their best ever finish at an Olympic Games, having had to go through the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in June to get to the summer games.
Alba Torrens, who struggled when the two teams faced off in Turkey at the FIBA world championship final in 2014 was clearly Spain’s shining light, with stunning numbers of 18 points, five assists, five steals and four assists.
Torrens unfortunately received little help as the Spanish bigs were hampered by foul trouble, allowing the U.S. to out-rebound them 51-28.
It’s a podium for Spain’s women though, and Sunday, the men have a chance to make it three podium finishes in a row.