As if the world needed a reminder that the United States Women’s National Team was by far the best in the Olympics.
The heavy favorites in pursuit of their sixth consecutive gold medal defeated Senegal in their Rio opener, 121-56, breaking their own record from 1992 for most points scored in an Olympic game (114).
If you got up after tipoff to get a sip of water, you likely came back to a blowout, as the U.S. held a commanding 35-9 lead after the first quarter. Seven players scored in double-figures for the United States, and they were led by Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart and Sylvia Fowles, who each had 15 points.
USA head coach Geno Auriemma spoke about what makes this highly skilled offense so potent and attributed most of their success against Senegal to ball movement.
“We talked in the locker room about how we want to play offensively, and how we want to attack and how we want to be difficult to play against,” Auriemma said. “That’s the area I think that we can take advantage of, the fact that we have a lot of players who can score. When we move the ball like that, when the ball doesn’t get stuck, the defense has got to guard it at all five spots on the floor, that’s just a tough task for anybody really.”
Though most will get wrapped up in the final score being such a rout, a 65-point margin, Olympics veteran Sue Bird isn’t going to get caught up in all the noise. She knows that records are fun, but the team is in Rio with a mission, and just one goal in mind.
“Records, at the end of the day, are fun to look back on and to think of all the great plays we made,” Bird explained. “But, we’re here for one reason and that’s to win a gold medal. We just want out to come out and play our game. Lucky for us, we have a lot of scorers. Every single player on the floor, no matter who’s in the game can put up a lot of big numbers.”
The United States will look to keep their high-octane offense going on Monday against Spain.