A rampant United States swept past Japan to their seventh straight women’s basketball crown Sunday, with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi collecting their fifth Olympic gold medals to cap remarkable careers.
Brittney Griner scored a game-high 30 points with five rebounds and two assists as the hosts were overpowered 90-75 by a team that stretched their Olympic win streak to 55 games dating back to their last defeat in the 1992 semis.
They went to half-time with a 50-39 lead and there was no stopping them, with a valiant Japan settling for second place and a best-ever Olympic finish.
Beating the Americans in Saitama was always going to be a huge ask, with the USA one of the most dominant teams in Olympic sporting history.
They had won eight out of the past nine Olympic titles heading into the final.
Their only blemishes in the history of the tournament were a silver behind the Soviet Union at the inaugural event in 1976 and bronze in 1992.
Bird, 40, and Taurasi, 39, both scored early buckets as the US raced to a 13-point lead against a nervous Japan, closing out the first quarter with a 23-14 advantage and Griner already into double digits.