(Courtesy of USA Basketball)
ISTANBUL - The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (6-0) rolled through the 2014 FIBA World Championship undefeated and claimed a second-straight gold medal at the event with a 77-64 win over Spain (5-1) on Sunday night at Fenerbahce Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.
The championship, which was the ninth World Championship gold, earned the USA its place in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, and the USA is now 103-21 all-time in FIBA World Championship play.
Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) led five U.S. players in double-digit scoring with 18 points, and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) had eight assists. Additionally, Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) is now FIBA’s only four-time women’s World Championship medalist.
The USA jumped to a 15-5 lead that included eight points from Moore, who made two 3-pointers in the first two minutes, and Spain called a timeout at 6:06. Though Moore hit a third 3 out of the timeout to put the USA up 18-5, Spain worked its way back within seven points with a 3-pointer at 3:05 that made it 20-13. The seven-point spread remained as the teams went back and forth before Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) scored the last four points of the quarter to give the USA a 28-17 lead at the first break. Tina Charles (New York Liberty) also helped the USA get off to a hot start with eight first-quarter points.
For a second-straight night, the USA also started off the game with stellar shooting, making 70.6 percent of its shots (12-17 FGs), while holding Spain to just 35.0 percent (7-20 FGs), though the USA did give up seven offensive boards.
The USA added 11 unanswered points to start the second period to bring the run to a 15-0 stretch and take a 39-17 lead at 6:21. After Moore’s fourth 3-pointer that made it 44-21 at 4:16, Spain made a six-point run, but Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) ended that with two made free throws at 2:15 to bring the score to 46-27. Each team added two more points, and the USA headed to the halftime locker room ahead by 19 points, 48-29.
The U.S. defense continued to stifle Spain, which was shooting just 26.8 percent (11-41 FGs) at the midway point. Meanwhile, the USA was shooting 60.6 percent (20-33 FGs) and had recorded 15 assists, including seven from Taurasi.
Spain scored first to start the second half, but the USA continued to improve upon its lead. A 6-0 stretch put the USA ahead 56-33 at 6:37, and after a 3-pointer from Spain and four points from the USA, Spain called a timeout at 4:25 with the USA up 24 points, 60-36. Helped along by two 3-pointers, however, Spain outscored the USA from there 12-7 to head into the final 10 minutes again trailing by 19-points, 67-48.
The USA held Spain scoreless for the first 4:14 of the final quarter and led 71-50, but Spain closed with a 14-6 scoring advantage to finish the game with the USA securing a 77-64 victory.
In the bronze medal game, Australia (5-1) beat host Turkey (4-2) 74-44.
In the fifth-eighth classification finals also played today, Canada (4-3) topped China (3-4) 61-53 for fifth place, and France (4-3) downed Serbia (3-4) 88-74 for seventh place. The complete final standings and the full schedule and results can be found at usabasketball.com.
USA head coach Geno Auriemma was assisted on the sideline by DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley; while University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti served as an advance scout and court coach for the 2014 USA squad.
The USA Basketball Women's National Team program compiled a perfect 40-0 record in 2014, winning gold medals at the FIBA World Championship (6-0), FIBA U17 World Championship (7-0), FIBA Americas U18 Championship (5-0), FIBA 3x3 World Championship (9-0) and Youth Olympic Games (13-0).
USA Basketball claimed gold in all of its five-on-five competitions in 2014, including the FIBA World Championship (women), FIBA Basketball World Cup (men), FIBA U17 World Championship (men and women) and FIBA Americas U18 Championship (men and women).
USA Basketball teams are the current men’s and women’s champions in the FIBA World Championships (FIBA Basketball World Cup for Men, FIBA World Championship for Women); men’s and women’s Olympics; men’s and women’s FIBA U19 and U17 World Championships; men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships; the FIBA 3x3 Women’s World Championship; the FIBA 3x3 Women’s U18 World Championship and the women’s Youth Olympic Games.