In the women’s final of Paralympic Games Rio 2016 wheelchair basketball competition Germany took on the USA for gold.
In a thrilling first quarter, the USA quickly took a 4-0 lead before Germany hit back and the teams traded points – the USA just edging the 10 minutes by 14-12.
With both teams putting up strong defensive pressure, it was a low scoring start to the second quarter until the American team earned a run of eight consecutive points to move ahead by 27-17.
The USA came out firing at the start of the third, sinking shot after shot to take a 40-17 lead. Germany continued to battle hard at both ends of the court, but with 10 minutes left on the clock the USA had pushed ahead by 49-29.
Always posing a threat, it was Germany who won the final quarter by 16-13, but an overall game of sharp shooting and strong defence which saw the USA close out a 62-45 victory and the gold medal.
USA Head Coach Stephanie Wheeler said: “It is mind-blowing! It’s amazing – I’ve felt this as a player and it feels different as a coach I think because you know all the behind the scenes work that has gone into this – film review and writing practices and game plans, and all that kind of stuff. But more so than that, I am just over the moon excited for our athletes! They deserve to know what this feels like and to know what it feels like to give everything you have for something and that dream come true.
“It’s been four years of making this journey sacred which means that we’ve sacrificed so much time with family – I was thinking about my partner Laura and how much time that I’ve spent away from her and our family. What this going to mean for the athletes too, you know all that emotion of knowing that at some point, giving up what you gave up was going to matter and that’s when it mattered.
“I think we played with incredible composure offensively and, conversely, we turned that into intensity defensively. I think our ability to play with both composure and intensity carried us through this tournament.
“I think our defence stepped up tonight and was huge – our defence has been kind of touchy over the course of the tournament and it hasn’t been as great as we would like it to be, our offence has been off the chart and we’re super proud of that, but tonight our defence stepped up.”
Germany Head Coach Holger Glinicki said: “If you lose the last game, it’s doesn’t feel so good, but I think before if you’d said that at the end we’d have silver then it’s good. Today for the next couple of hours it’s not going to feel so good, but I think silver is very good for us.
“For many of the players and also for me, I think this will have been the last game for the national team. I started with the team in 2006 with the World Championships and then silver in Beijing, gold in London, now silver here – I think it’s a good end.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-womens-gold-medal-match-wb-2