USA ARE QUEENS OF THE WORLD

The women of the United States of America emulated their male counterparts, lifting the FIBA World Championship with a 89-69 victory over the Czech Republic in the final.

Four years after they were relegated to bronze, a game-high 18 points from Angel McCoughtry helped see off the hosts who were backed by a loud crowd in Karlovy Vary.

And it completed an unbeaten run for the Americans who overcame an indifferent preparation to shine through.

“To come here, play against this great team and with a fantastic crowd means a lot to us,” Diana Taurasi said.

Angel McCoughtery scored a game-high 18 for the USA (FIBA)

“We had 12 determined players. The Czech Republic are a basketball country, they have good players and a fantastic coach and they had a good run. For us to win gold at the World Championship was gruelling, hard and personally, very satisfying, especially the way we did it.”

Hana Horakova, the Czechs’ best player, was voted Most Valuable Player  of the tournament and was also included in the All-Star Five with teammate Eva Viteckova, USA’s Taurasi, Spain’s Sancho Lyttle and Belarus center Yelena Leuchanka.

“This is a dream,” Horakova said. “I share all of these awards with my teammates because they helped me get them. This is a great result for Czech basketball, to finish runners-up in a World Championship feels like a miracle. We knew it would be very difficult against the USA and it was because they have 12 stars in their team.”

The Czechs trailed 19-14 at the end of the first quarter and 40-35 at half-time.

After a Tereza Peckova basket cut the Czech’s deficit to 40-37, the USA got a three-pointer from Taurasi before a Tamika Catchings steal triggered a fast break that Sue Bird finished with a lay-up.

Kulichova scored with a 3-metre jumper but Taurasi struck again from long range to spark a 10-0 run that put the USA in front at 58-41.

Geno Auriemma’s side remained in command the rest of the way and went in front by as many as 25 as the celebrations began.

In the 3rd place play-off, Spain defeated Belarus 77-68.

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