Since 1996 the Team USA women and the Australian Opals have had quite a basketball rivalry. They are the two best teams in the world. The Aussies are the current FIBA world women's champs. They have met in the 1996 Atlanta semifinals and the gold medal games in Sydney and Athens. All the matchups were double digit Team USA wins.
The Aussies felt that this Olympics was theirs. Some of their best players stayed home to train. Lauren Jackson left the Seattle Storm two weeks before the WNBA Olympic break started to go back to Australia to train with the Opals.
But once again, the Opals will be taking silver medals back Down Under. Lisa Leslie made sure her last Olympic game would end on a high note despite fouling out with 6:33 left in the contest. She scored 14 points to help Team USA defeat Australia 92-65 and join Teresa Edwards as the only female USA ballers to win four gold medals. Leslie made history by becoming the first to accomplish the feat in consecutive Olympiads.
It looked like it was going to be a hard fought game for a while. Team USA trailed 13-10 late in the first quarter before Kara Lawson and the 'Young Guns' as I call them took the floor. They ignited a 12-2 run that gave Team USA a 22-15 lead at the end of the quarter. The Aussie were also held to 22% shooting as Team USA raced out to a 47-30 lead while blistering the nets with 63% shooting.
The 'Young Guns' also outscored the Opals bench 59-11 in this game as well with Kara Lawson's perfect 5 for 5 shooting and 15 points leading the way.
Lauren Jackson scored 20 points while trying to rally the Opals, but they couldn't get any closer than cutting the deficit to 12 points. Team USA not only sent Lisa Leslie and Katie Smith out in style, they won their 33rd consecutive Olympic game.
This team had a nice mix of veterans and youth. Team USA will definitely be in good shape when the Drive for Olympic Gold Five kicks off in London four years from now.