TENERIFE, Spain, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The United States claimed their unprecedented third straight title after powering past Australia 73-56 in the final of 2018 FIBA Women's World Cup here on Sunday.
It was the 10th time for the basketball powerhouse to stand atop the podium of the tournament since its inauguration in 1953, with the name of Basketball World Championship for Women prior to the 2018 edition. Sunday's victory was also the 22 straight for the U.S. as their most recent loss dated back to the semifinals in 2006.
Brittney Griner triumphed the duel between two world top-class centers with a game-high 15 points for the U.S. Her Australian counterpart Liz Cambage failed to continue her momentum of finishing 33 points and 15 rebounds against hosts Spain on Saturday, nailing just seven points while grabbing 14 boards.
The U.S. caught fire beyond the arc with consecutive three-pointers from Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi and stormed to a 10-0 spurt, before Katie Ebzery snapped Australia's scoreless streak in almost four minutes.
Cambage, having scored 27.2 points per game, was restrained at both ends by Griner, who converted a three-point play in front of Cambage. Australia came back into contention late in the first quarter, cutting the U.S. lead to five points.
Leading 35-27 into the halftime, the defending champions pulled away with a 9-0 run capped by Griner's hook shot.
Although Alex Bunton's second chance basket ended Australia's scoring drought in more than five minutes, the U.S. maintained and even extended their margin over 20 points.
Australia never came closer than 19 points in the final period until the three-pointer buzzer made by Tess Lavey to set the final score at 73-56.
Taurasi and Stewart added 13 and 10 points for the U.S.
Spain bagged the bronze medal after beating debutantes Belgium 67-60 earlier on Sunday.