Rio De Janeiro, Brazil — Depth was the name of the game for Team USA in its second Olympic victory over Team Spain this afternoon, August 8. After a record-setting performance over Senegal roughly 24 hours prior – where the Americans won by the widest margin in Olympic history – Geno Auriemma’s talented squad was destined for another valiant showing, as they seek yet another gold medal in Rio.
“Each game we play is going to get progressively harder,” Auriemma said. “We have to keep getting better and it took us a little bit. Spain’s a really good team, but I think when you look at our depth and all the people that we have that can keep the pressure going, after a while it starts to take its toll on the other team.”
If the USA needed any extra confidence heading into today’s contest, history could do just that with a perfect 9-0 record over Spain in major international tournaments. Behind Diana Taurasi’s 13 points, two rebounds and a pair of assists, the Americans moved to 10-0 after sailing past Spain by a commanding final score of 103-63. It wasn’t quite the 65-point win over Senegal, but it was close.
With a convincing 54-37 lead at halftime, the United States dominated in nearly every category, the most impressive being 29 bench points and all but three players scoring after 20 minutes of action. Taurasi – aiming for her fourth Olympic gold medal – was the first to get USA on the board.
Spain stole the lead with seven minutes to go in the first quarter, but the momentum quickly shifted after Elena Delle Donne connected on her first bucket halfway through quarter one.
“I feel like we are just clicking, especially offensively but defensively as well,” Delle Donne said. “There are a lot of things we do need to clean up, like 50-50 balls, offensive rebounding. In the first half, I feel like they got a lot of O (offensive) boards.
“But, we are clicking on all cylinders, and our chemistry has been really magnificent for only being together for, what, a week-and-a-half now.”
Turnovers, shot clock violations and USA’s shooting and rebounding efforts dug Spain into an even deeper hole after being down 29-14 at the end of the first quarter. The United States shot an electric 57 percent – including 24 points in the paint – held a 24 to 18 rebounding advantage and managed to force 12 turnovers while they had only five in the first half.
A 54-37 lead at halftime was undoubtedly earned, yet even that didn’t dilute Auriemma’s intensity on the sidelines.
Spain’s Alba Torrens notched 20 points, but did not have much offensive firepower behind her. Team USA stood in stark contrast to Spain’s struggles as all but one player ended up scoring and five players finished in double figures.
Much in part to Delle Donne (12 points), Brittney Griner (10 points), Sylvia Fowles (12 points) and Tina Charles (8 points), Team USA had a staggering 56 points in the paint to Spain’s 20. The Americans also outscored Spain’s bench by 39 points.
Team USA will be back in action on Wednesday against Serbia, where tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m ET.