Rio De Janeiro, Brazil — The U.S. Women’s basketball team started off their Olympic games against Senegal Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET. Coach Geno Auriemma’s star-studded team is seeking their sixth straight Olympic gold medal.
As expected, Team USA started off extremely dominant. Olympic team veteran, guard Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, hit 4-for-4 of her three-pointers in the first quarter, nearly tying her record of five in an Olympic game.
Senegal, the reigning African champions, couldn’t keep up with the stacked US squad. They fell behind early unable to hold back the mighty U.S. offense. The U.S. closed out the first quarter with a demanding 35-9 lead.
Senegal slightly stepped up their defensive energy at the beginning of the second period, but it was not enough to stifle U.S.’s deep bench. Before the end of the half, every player on the U.S. roster was on the board with the exception of guard Sue Bird. Senegal was able to sink 12 points in the second quarter, compared to nine in the first, but ended up giving up 29 points to the U.S. offense to end the half, 64-21.
Team U.S.A. closed out the second half with a 70% shot compared to Senegal’s 26%. Every player on the deep U.S. roster was able to see the court in the first half. They set the tone playing very unselfish basketball looking for open players and keeping up a solid passing game.
“Obviously they’re undermanned, talent-wise when it comes to playing against the U.S. But, you got to admire their effort. You’ve got to admire how tough they are and how competitive they are,” Aureimma said.
Every player on the deep U.S. roster was able to see the court in the first half. They set the tone playing very unselfish basketball looking for open players and keeping up a solid passing game. Reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky saw her first Olympic game today, and said the depth of the U.S. team gave them that many more options.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, where if you’re not open you look to right and one of the best players in the world is next to you, you look to your left and it’s the same thing, so, so many options and really fun to play with,” Delle Donne said.
The U.S. continued their stellar play into the second half, with Taurasi hitting her fifth three-pointer, tying her Olympic record. The Senegalese team couldn’t seem to compete with the sheer size of the U.S., dwarfing them in both height and power. The U.S. continued their consistency, shooting 68% in the third quarter with five players in double figures. They closed out the third period on top, 94-38.
The U.S. made their way into the triple digits in the fourth quarter, reaching the 100 mark for the 15th time in their 62 Olympic games. With a three-pointer in the last few minutes by forward Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Strom, the U.S. beat their Olympic record of 114 points in a single contest.
“Records, at the end of the day, are fun to look back on and to think of all the great plays we made. 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,” Bird commented after the game.
The U.S. closed out the game with the largest margin of victory in U.S. Olympic history with 65 points, winning 121-56.
The U.S. Women’s basketball team is back in action Monday against Spain at 11 a.m. ET.