Three more gold medals are headed back to the Valley as the Mercury trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith won gold tonight in Tokyo with the USA Women’s National Team. Already the greatest women’s basketball player of all time, Taurasi won her fifth Olympic gold medal (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2021), joining fellow American Sue Bird as the only athlete’s in basketball history to reach five. Griner won her second gold medal (2016, 2021) and Diggins-Smith earned her first.
Per USA Basketball, Taurasi and Bird join Aladar Gerevich (Fencing), Isabell Werth (Equestrian), Pal Kovacs (Fencing), and Reiner Klimke (Equestrian) as the only six athletes to win five or more Olympic gold medals in the same event or discipline. Tonight’s win extended the women’s national team streak to seven consecutive Olympic gold medals, tying the USA men’s basketball national team’s record (1936-68) for most consecutive gold medals in traditional team sports.
Despite battling injuries this season, Taurasi started in all six games for Team USA in Tokyo and now stands at 38 career Olympic games played, the most in U.S. women’s national team history. She averaged 5.8 points in the six games and moved past Dawn Staley for the third-most assists all-time by a women’s national team member at the Summer Games (97).
Picking up her second career gold medal in Tokyo, Griner was dominant throughout the Games, averaging a team-best tying 16.5 points (A’ja Wilson), 7.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in the six games, while shooting 68.9 percent (42-of-61) from the field. Griner tallied two double-doubles for Team USA and scored in double figures in all six games. While Griner scored 15 points in four of her games played, she saved her best for tonight’s Gold Medal game, scoring a team-high 30 points to go along with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks. Griner became just the second USAB Women’s National Team member to score at least 30 points in an Olympic game, joining Lisa Leslie (35 points on July 31, 1996, vs. Japan).
Playing in her first Olympic Games, Diggins-Smith saw action in five games, with her most minutes (14) coming against Australia in the quarterfinals. In that game, she knocked down her lone three-point attempt and finished with 4 points, an assist, and a steal. Her Olympic appearance this year came after having to withdraw her name from the pool of players for the 2016 Games after suffering a knee injury.
via: Mercury PR