06 - 20
August 2016
Geno Auriemma (USA)
to read

Auriemma: 'We respected our opponents and we respected the game itself'

RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Rio Olympics) - No matter how dominant the USA have been at the Rio Olympics, the Americans are in the international basketball to stay.

Following an 8-0 record in Rio, which saw their Olympic overall mark increase to 48-0 dating back to 1996, the Americans’ dominance in international stage became a topic of conversation, especially after they cruised past their opponents by a scoring average of 102 points per game.

The USA won their sixth straight Olympic gold medal

France, runners-up at London Olympics four years ago and a team that recorded the lowest losing difference (19 points) to the USA, fell to Serbia in the Third-Place Game.

Spain, the Rio Olympics silver medalists, were beaten 103-63 by the USA in the Group Phase, before being crushed 101-72 in the Gold Medal Game.

Australia, the number two team in the world and tipped as the most capable of disputing the Olympics crown with the USA, somehow crashed out to Serbia in the Quarter-Finals.

How good is the USA success for international women’s basketball?

Geno Auriemma, the USA head coach, insists it could help other nations to improve their basketball programmes.

“If you took us out of this tournament, it would be an amazing tournament,” Auriemma said. “But unfortunately, we’re not going anywhere.”

While the rise of Spain, Serbia, Canada and Japan added value to the tournament, some argued the Americans belong to another dimension.

“Obviously, it was an incredible tournament for us,” said Auriemma. “From the very first game that we played to our last game, with very few exceptions I thought we played basketball at a really high level.

“It wasn’t as easy as sometimes it looked, these last two games especially with France and against Spain. These are very good teams that we’re playing, and you could see that it wasn’t just a cakewalk, that it was a struggle. Then finally, because of our depth and because of the experience on our team, we were able to separate ourselves. But the way we played, we respected our opponents and we respected the game itself, we earned a lot of respect from a lot of people around the world, and I’m really proud of that.”

Meanwhile, with the prospect of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and Tamika Catchings - a trio of four-time Olympic gold medallists - retiring from the national team, a new cycle is set to start for the USA. And the 2018 FIBA World Women’s Championship will test the Americans’ dominance again.