This afternoon in Rio, the U.S. Women’s National Team won their historic sixth straight gold medal by defeating Spain 101-72. In honor of the incredible feat, here are six facts you need to know about the 2016 team.
1: Crazy Point Differential
Twenty years ago, the 1996 U.S. Women’s National Team dominated the field, going 8-0 for the first of the Americans’ six straight gold medals. Their eight wins were by an impressive average of 28.6 points.
Yet the 2016 team flew past that mark, winning their eight games in Rio by 297 total points, for an average margin of victory of 37.1 points, just 0.5 points per game behind the 2008 squad for the best margin of victory in an Olympic games of all time.
2. High Draft Picks Galore
There are eight No. 1 overall draft picks on this team — Sue Bird (’02), Diana Taurasi (’04), Seimone Augustus (’06), Angel McCoughtry (’08), Tina Charles (’10), Maya Moore (’11), Brittney Griner (’13), and Breanna Stewart (’16) — and every player was at least a top four pick.
3. Breanna Stewart Has Never Seen The USAB Women Lose An Olympic Game
The youngest player on the squad, Breanna Stewart, is just 21 years old. Born in 1994, the U.S. Women’s Basketball Team has never lost an Olympic game in her lifetime.
4. USAB Women’s Basketball Joins Elite Company
The USA’s win over Spain gave the Americans their sixth straight Olympic gold medal. With that achievement, they have joined U.S. Men’s Basketball (1936-68) and Indian Men’s Field Hockey (1928-56) as the only group sports programs with six at least straight Olympic golds.
5. Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings And Diana Taurasi In Elite Company Too
With the win, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi have secured their fourth gold medals, joining Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards as the most decorated American women’s basketball players. Leslie has four golds (1996-2008) and Edwards has four golds (1984-88, 1996-2000) and one bronze (1992).
In addition, the tri-captains have joined an elite and exclusive group of American athletes. In Olympic history — winter and summer games — the only American athletes to win gold medals at four different Olympic games are Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, Ryan Lochte, Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards.
Bird, Catchings and Taurasi are now on the list, as the 2016 gold joins their trophy case along with golds from 2004, 2008 and 2012.
6. Winning From The Front
Through the first seven games, the U.S. trailed for just eight minutes and 41 seconds. This afternoon, Spain held the lead for 2:40, bringing the total time the U.S. faced a deficit in Rio to 11 minutes and 21 seconds. Or, just over one quarter. The longest any one team held a lead against the Americans was the three minutes and one second in which Canada lead during the group stage meeting which the U.S. ultimately won by 30.