USA won their third straight FIBA Women’s World Cup crown and tenth overall with a comfortable 73-56 victory over Australia in the final in Tenerife on Sunday night.
For all the hype in the build up, especially given that the two teams were expected to reach the World Cup final, the USA’s win was a lot more comfortable than people predicted. Easing to an eight-point lead at the half before predictably racing away in the third, making the fourth quarter a non-event.
Brittney Griner led the way with 15 points for the U.S., with Diana Taurasi adding 13 and Breanna Stewart working hard for her 10 points, with an overall tournament average of 16.3 points making the latter the tournament’s MVP.
“It’s been an incredible few months, that’s for sure,” Stewart said. “And I think the biggest thing about it all is that it’s all focused on team.
“Having the team win, winning a championship in Seattle, and then coming here knowing that I’m playing with 11 of the best players in the world. Not needing to play outside of my game, just do what I do best to help us win gold, and everything else that comes with that.”
Stewart’s MVP award will come as a little harsh on Australia’s Liz Cambage, who averaged incredible numbers of 23.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks a game, but perhaps came up short due to her performance in the finale, as the Americans kept Cambage quiet, limiting her to just seven points – nowhere near the averages she put up during her time in Spain.
“We work hard, but I know a lot of people think this is easy to win time and time again,” said USA coach Dawn Staley, who wins her first competitive medal as a head coach.
“But, there has to be the sacrifice of the players coming here a little beaten up from the WNBA season. But they make the commitment and our best players want to represent USA in this World Cup and continue our winning tradition.”
Alanna Smith led the Aussies with 10 points but they end the Women’s World Cup on a low note.
HOSTS FINISH WITH BRONZE
Spain finished a competitive tournament with a sixth straight podium finish was they toppled surprise package Belgium, 67-60 to claim bronze.
Marta Xargay led the Spaniards with 17 points, supported by 15 from veteran Alba Torrens.
Your #FIBAWWC 2018 All-Star Five!
Big round of applause 👏👏👏
🔄 RT to congratulate them! pic.twitter.com/JLczJEYYoL
— FIBA (@FIBA) September 30, 2018