USA’s players pose with their golden medals and the World Cup trophy. Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images
The United States continued their run of dominance on the biggest stages for women’s basketball as Brittney Griner scored 15 points to help the US beat Australia 73-56 and win the Fiba Women’s Basketball World Cup.
It was the third consecutive World Cup title for the US, something the team had never accomplished in their illustrious history. The victory gave the US 10 World Cup gold medals and was the 22nd win in a row overall for the Americans dating back to the bronze medal game in 2006. That was the same year that Australia won their only World Cup title. The Americans lost to Russia in the semi-finals and haven’t lost since in the World Cup or Olympics.
Diana Taurasi, who scored 13 points, helped the US get off to a strong start with a 10-0 lead. Australia could only get within three the rest of the way. It was the first time in the tournament that the US didn’t trail in a game. As the final seconds wound down, Taurasi hugged her teammates and coaches on the bench.
The victory gave Sue Bird a fourth World Cup gold medal and fifth medal overall in the tournament. Both are the most for any player. It also made Dawn Staley the first person ever to win a World Cup title as a player, assistant and head coach. Breanna Stewart, who scored 10 points in the final, was named the MVP of the tournament.
Australia’s Liz Cambage, who came into the game averaging 27.2 points in the tournament, was held to just seven. She remained the No1 enemy of the Spanish fans, who jeered and whistled every time she touched the ball. Cambage keyed Australia’s win over the host nation in the semi-finals. Spain won the bronze medal, beating Belgium 67-60 earlier Sunday.
The US led 35-27 at the half and didn’t give Australia any chance to come back, scoring the first nine points of the third quarter. This was Australia’s best finish at the World Cup since 2006.