On Sunday, Team USA’s women’s basketball team beat Japan with a score of 90-75 and secured their seventh consecutive gold medal. Moreover, the victory also rang in the team’s 55th consecutive Olympic win overall.
Players Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are particularly credited with helping the team consistently hold its winning streak. As the duo to watch on the team for years, the two guards scored seven points each for their team yesterday and won their fifth gold medal each.
“It’s been a tremendous journey,” Taurasi, 39, said according to ESPN. “It’s 20 years of sacrifice, of putting everything else aside and just wanting to win. It’s never easy playing on this team, the pressure, but this group found a way to win, and I am just happy that this group got to enjoy it.”
Expressing her own happiness over the team’s performance despite the strain that the pandemic has put on them, Bird explained that “It’s always really difficult to win a gold medal, and this year was even harder.”
“To deal with all the same adversity everyone else was dealing with and never let it get us down. I’m happy. That’s it.”
The duo’s performance reflected their last play on the court together at the international athletic event. Bird, 40, is retiring from Olympic basketball after getting her fifth gold medal and helping Team USA win against Japan yesterday according to the Olympics’ website. It additionally describes the basketball player as a “living legend.”
“Hopefully we’ve left a legacy with the younger players where they now can carry that torch,” Bird told ESPN.
Players Brittany Griner, 30, and A’ja Wilson, 25, have already been proving themselves as the two to continue to work of Bird and Taurasi.
“Anyone who knows me and knows [Taurasi] knows how much I look up to her,” Griner told the outlet. “Even on the court I am still in awe. Like, yo, I get to play with Diana Taurasi. So to be a part of this, her fifth, it means everything to me, honestly.”
LoveBScott reported that Wilson scored 19 points during Sunday’s game, grabbing seven rebounds and helping out her teammates with five assists.
“She was the team’s best player on most nights averaging 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 59 percent throughout her first Olympic Games,” it detailed.
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The team was also able to achieve their win thanks to its head coach, Dawn Staley, who the outlet reported made history as the first Black U.S. women’s basketball coach.
Following yesterday’s victory, and her role as an integral part of the team’s consecutive success, Staley shared that she’d be stepping down from her position after this year’s Olympics.