The USA won their sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball with a comprehensive 101-72 victory over Spain at Rio’s Carioca Arena.

Having defeated Spain by 40 points in the preliminary round, USA were strong favourites coming into the gold medal match and did not disappoint, taking control of the game in the second quarter and not letting Spain back in.

USA out-shot Spain 59-40% from the field, out-rebounded them 51-28, and shot 9/15 from three-point range to underline their dominance.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Diana Taurasi, who scored 17 points and joined Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings as a four time Olympic champion. We had a goal to win the gold medal but there’s something more to it than that. It’s not about one person, one coach, it’s about, ‘how can we make this the best basketball team ever?”

Spain were able to stay close in the first quarter and trailed 21-17 at its end. As has been shown throughout the tournament, however, staying with USA for a quarter or even a half is one thing, but doing it for the entire 40 minutes has been impossible.

USA stepped up their defensive intensity and shooting percentage in the second quarter to build a 17-point lead at half-time, by which time the game was virtually over.

“I’m pretty sure we demonstrated that we’re one of the best teams ever,” Bird said.

Earlier, Serbia used a third-quarter shooting barrage to overwhelm France 70-63 and claim bronze

In a repeat of last year’s EuroBasket final, a tense, back-and-forth game was emerging midway through the third quarter until Serbia blew it open with a 16-0 run that turned a three-point deficit into an unassailable 13-point lead.

“”You know when the coach comes in the locker room and say that you play like pussies, you don’t want to play like that,” Milica Diabolic said. “You want to show her that you’re not that. We were just mad because she talked with us in a bad way, and we didn’t like that; we hated that.

“We just came together, and we started to cry, and we said, ‘OK, we are going to show her that we are not fake and we are not that.'”

Elsewhere on Saturday, Great Britain’s men lost 92-80 in a friendly with Slovenia despite 24 points from Dan Clark.

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