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20 Moments of 2016 – August 20: WNBA Stars Lead USA to Gold

In the days leading up to the New Year, is reliving the best of the league’s landmark 20th season in its 20 Moments of 2016 series. Check back each day from now until December 31 for more!

20 MOMENTS: WNBA Draft | Breanna Stewart’s Debut | Wings’ First Game in Dallas | Mystics-Sun Triple-OT | Lynx-Sparks Round 1 | WNBA Top 20@20 | Taurasi’s 7,000th Point | Hammon’s Jersey Retired | Jackson’s Jersey Retired | EDD vs. Stewie Duel | Olympians Capture Gold | Swin Cash Night | Pondexter Moves to No. 5 in Scoring | So Long, Penny | Stars Celebrate Duo | Tamika’s Farewell | Angel’s Playoff Showcase | Ogwumike Named MVP | Beard’s Finals Buzzer-Beater | An Epic Finale

The Moment

Once every four years, the WNBA takes a midsummer break and cedes the floor to another version of summer hoops: the Olympic tournament. During their month away from home, 12 of the WNBA’s brightest stars led the USA to its sixth straight gold medal, reaching virtually unprecedented levels of dominance internationally.

The Flashback

USAB Women’s Road to A Sixth Straight Gold

The Significance

A 66-3 all-time record. A 49-game winning streak. A 2016 average margin of victory of 37.1 points.

Take your pick of which number best summarizes USA’s dominance in women’s basketball. But perhaps most impressive is the USA women’s dominance in Olympic history, let alone basketball history. Only two teams have won more consecutive gold medals: the USA men’s basketball team with seven from 1936-68 and the India men’s field hockey team with six from 1928-56.

A mix of WNBA stars young and old led the 2016 squad, from captains Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi — who won their fourth gold — to the team’s only rookie, Breanna Stewart. The victory also brought Team USA full circle, as the 1996 squad’s unforgettable run paved the way for the launch of the WNBA.

Related’s 2016 Olympics Hub

The USA Basketball Video Vault

USA Basketball History