US women’s basketball team looks to continue Olympic dominance, seeking 8th straight gold in Paris

The U.S. women’s basketball team is on a historic run, winning seven straight Olympic gold medals. While no one has come close to ending that streak, the rest of the world is getting better.

The Americans, who haven’t lost an Olympic contest since 1992, won by an average of 16 points in the Tokyo Games. That was their smallest margin of victory since the streak started at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The biggest challenge for the U.S. will once again be the limited prep time to practice as unit. The complete team will be together for the first time right before the Paris Games.

“The rest of the world is definitely improving,” six-time Olympic participant Diana Taurasi said. “It’s not as easy as it’s looked over the years.”

The 42-year-old Taurasi would know; she has been a part of the last five U.S. Olympic teams. She will be going for a record sixth gold medal in Paris.

The U.S. is trying to break a tie with the American men’s basketball team for most consecutive gold medals. The men won seven straight from 1936-68. The two basketball teams hold the longest streak for golds in a traditional team sport in Olympic history.

The Americans understand what’s ahead and are focused on the present and not their past. The goal is just to win in Paris and not look at the bigger picture of continuing the dynasty.

“That can’t be your every day thought and then you lose sight of what it takes to get there,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “That’s the biggest thing you have to block out. There’s a huge narrative we can’t escape with this being one of the greatest sports dynasties ever. It’s our first experience together with this group and this is our special journey, it’s about one gold medal.”

It’s definitely a special time for Brittney Griner, who is returning to the team for the Olympics. She missed the 2022 World Cup when she was wrongfully detained in Russia for 10 months. She has said that she’ll only play overseas with USA Basketball.

“We were all thinking of BG when she was away and we didn’t know if this moment would be possible,” Reeve said. “I’m thrilled for her personally and thrilled for our basketball team.”

The Americans are in a pool with Japan, Belgium and Germany. The Japanese team were silver medalists at the 2021 Tokyo Games. Group A features Serbia, Spain, China, and Puerto Rico. Group B is comprised of Canada, France, Australia and Nigeria.

Play begins on Sunday, July 28 and ends with the gold medal game on the final day of the Olympics.

Here are some other things to watch for:

Welcome back Lauren

Australia will receive a huge lift with the return of Lauren Jackson. The four-time WNBA MVP won three Olympic silver medals and one bronze with the Opals before retiring from playing in 2016 after knee injuries derailed her career. She returned for the 2022 World Cup in Australia and led the team to a bronze medal. Now the 43-year-old forward will be playing in her fifth Olympics.

“What Lauren has done is simply amazing,” Australia coach Sandy Brondello said. “She has a great basketball IQ and certainly will help us.”


Germany is making its first Olympic appearance led by the Sabally sisters — Nyara and Satou (who plays with the Dallas Wings). The Germans will host the 2026 World Cup and hope to have a strong showing in Paris where they are in a tough pool with the U.S., Belgium and Japan.

“We’re just there to have fun,” Nyara Sabally said. “It’s basketball, you never know what’s going to happen. I’m really confident in our team and I think we have a really good team.

Looking for a win

African nations haven’t fared well at the Olympics, going 1-36 with Nigeria getting the lone victory in the 2004 Athens Games when they topped Korea in the 11th place contest. Nigeria will look to end that drought as the country plays in its third Olympics.


AP Olympics coverage:

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