Beijing, Aug 24: The United States swept to a fourth successive Olympic women's basketball gold medal with a crushing win over world champions Australia.
The predicted fireworks failed to materialise as the Americans obliterated their fierce rivals 92-65 in a totally one-sided Beijing final to win their sixth Olympic title."I'm just so overwhelmed right now," said US captain Lisa Leslie, her gold medals from the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Games clinking around her neck alongside her newest one. "It's awesome to experience this for the fourth time. We didn't leave anything for anyone. We were the team that played the best basketball this whole Olympics."
American coach Anne Donovan and her Australian counterpart Jan Stirling both said they would be stepping down. "I'm not coaching the team anymore - I can sleep at night now," said Donovan after exorcising the ghosts of a bronze medal finish at the 2006 world championships. "That bronze drove me every day since '06. Fortunately that drove those 12 ladies too and we got that redemption we wanted here."
European champions Russia took bronze for the second consecutive Olympics by overpowering tournament hosts China 94-81.
The US carried an astonishing 32-0 winning streak into Saturday's gold medal showdown, a run that was never threatened by an Australian team who came out flat.