Leading from start to finish, Tina Charles and the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team (6-0) defeated Australia (5-1) 73-56 to claim a third-straight FIBA World Cup gold medal Sunday night at Santiago Martin Arena in San Cristobal de La Laguna, Canary Islands.
It is the first time the U.S. women have captured three FIBA World Cup titles in a row, and the USA’s World Cup winning streak now totals 22 games, dating back to a 2006 bronze medal win.
While the USA was in control throughout, Australia was within striking distance, 35-27 at halftime, until a 26-11 third quarter helped the USA pull awayThe USA jumped ahead 10-0 to start the game, but Australia, helped by a 7-0 spurt, cut it to 18-15 late in the quarter. The USA led 20-15 after the first 10 minutes.
The USA pushed its advantage to as many as 12 points, 35-23, in the second quarter, but after two scores by Australia, the score was 35-27 at halftime. At the midway point, with Australia holding a slim, 27-26 rebounding advantage at that point, the USA was bolstered by 13-of-15 shooting from the free throw line.
The third quarter was all USA, which held Australia scoreless for the first 5:02 of the period, and while the USA raced to 26 points, it gave up just 11 overall to Australia to lead 61-38 after 30 minutes. The fourth quarter was an opportunity for all 12 U.S. players to see minutes in the game as the USA had the win under control, and, in fact, all 12 U.S. players put points on the board.
Charles’s six points accompanied four rebounds and one assist. She was a perfect free-throw shooter on the evening.
Since the 1996 Olympic Games, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team program will have posted a 100-1 slate in major international competitions, winning an amazing six consecutive Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), five FIBA World Championship golds (1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, 2018), one FIBA World Championship bronze medal (2006) and one FIBA Americas Championship gold medal (2007), including its 6-0 slate in Tenerife.
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