Brittney Griner leads USA to third consecutive world title
USA defeated Australia 73-56 to win the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Tenerife.
Brittney Griner was the star of the show with 15 points allied to some solid defence as the Americans clinched their third world title in a row.
The victory means USA join hosts Japan in the line-up at Tokyo 2020 where they will bid for a seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal.
Australia were the last team other than USA to win the women's world crown in 2006, but they went into the final as big outsiders.
USA ended Belgium's dream competition debut in the semi-finals and were the only team to score 100 points in a match - a feat they achieved twice - this tournament.
Australia's hopes rested on the broad shoulders of the competition's top scorer Liz Cambage, but she was outshone by Griner whose superb offensive and defensive display earned her the Player of the Game award.
After their narrow win over Olympic silver medallists and hosts Spain in the semi-finals, Australia went into the final high on confidence.
But they could not have made a much worse start as the Americans raced out into a 10-0 lead.
Australia managed to close the gap to three but Cambage, who had averaged over 27 points per game in the tournament, was restricted to just seven in the final.
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Diana Taurasi scored 13 points with WNBA regular season and playoffs MVP Breanna Stewart adding 10.
Cambage had been the frontrunner for World Cup MVP but her disappointing final performance saw Stewart take yet another award in a superb year.
The team to beat
USA had six survivors from Rio 2016 in their squad which was much the best in Tenerife.
They were not even at full strength with star forward Maya Moore and three-time Olympic gold medallists Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus taking breaks after busy WNBA campaigns.
And the bad news for the rest of the world is that the Americans look in no mood to loosen their grip on number one spot in women's basketball.