The 2014 women's FIBA championship game will feature a battle of unbeaten squads, as Spain prepares to face off against the United States.
Both of these teams established their dominance throughout the tournament, and both capped off impressive runs with decisive semifinal victories.
Spain defeated Turkey on Saturday thanks to a brilliant 28-point performance from forward Alba Torrens. She was incredibly efficient from all over the floor, hitting 11 of her 20 attempts while adding six rebounds and three assists.
Sancho Lyttle, the 6'4" power forward, gave the team a big boost on the boards, hauling in 12 total rebounds and adding 18 points for the game's only double-double.
The Americans put on a spectacular showing of their own on Saturday, defeating the high-powered Australians by a score of 82-70.
Team USA put together a well-rounded showing, but 6'4" center Tina Charles really stood out, finishing the game with 18 points and nine rebounds. Forward Maya Moore added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists of her own during the rout.
Here's a look at the full box score, via FIBA:
Now, it's time for one of these teams to suffer its first defeat of the tournament. Sunday's final is sure to bring plenty of compelling, edge-of-your-seat action that shouldn't be missed.
Here's a look at all the game's essential viewing information, followed by a preview and prediction for this colossal matchup.
Matchup: Spain vs. United States
When: Sunday, October 5
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Preview and Prediction
The U.S. women are attempting to accomplish the same feat as the country's men on Sunday, and they have a great shot at the title thanks to a deep roster and production from every position.
Moore, the reigning WNBA MVP, has consistently ripped it up through the team's five tournament games. She's shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and is averaging a team-high 14.8 points per game.
Brittney Griner and Charles have also provided nice performances. Griner is averaging 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, while Charles has come up huge in the paint, averaging 10.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest.
Take a look at how dominant and resilient the Americans can be, as they earned a rematch against France—the only team to beat them in an exhibition game this year—in the tournament's quarterfinals:
While this team is chock-full of stars, Spain has some solid players of its own.
In fact, Lyttle and Torrens are averaging 18.6 and 16.6 points per game, respectively—good enough to rank first and second out of the tournament's participating players.
Showing some nice height and aggressiveness inside as well, Spain's Lyttle and Laura Nicholls are pulling in a combined 20.4 rebounds per game.
Team USA's Charles knows how talented Spain's Torrens is on the court. After Saturday's victory, she had this to say about her upcoming opponent, via FIBA.com: "It's going to be very tough for us again. They have a great player in Alba Torrens, so we are really looking forward to it."
Here's a look at side-by-side tournament statistical rankings for both teams:
|2014 FIBA Ranks: United States vs. Spain|
|Spain||4 (72.2)||3 (43.7)||3 (43.0)||2 (28.8)||3 (424)|
|United States||1 (95.2)||1 (54.2)||1 (53.0)||1 (22.8)||1 (608)|
The depth of the American team is wildly apparent, as the U.S. tops the standings in each of the major statistical categories. Spain can't be overlooked, though, as it proved to be deep enough to land in the top four of each category as well.
The difference-maker in this impending matchup will be each team's ability to produce down low. Controlling the boards leads to wins, as rebounds, second-chance points and high-percentage scoring opportunities in the paint are crucial for the success of any team.
Surprisingly enough, both squads match up well in size. The United States team has five players reaching at least 6'2" in height—including the 6'8" Griner—while the Spanish team also has five players of that height or greater, its tallest being the 6'5" center Lucila Pascua.
The Americans displayed their defensive prowess against Australia in the semifinals. Here's a look at the Aussie's shooting percentage at the half, via USA Basketball:
Throughout the tournament, the U.S. has shown a greater level of chemistry, efficiency and aggressiveness. Team USA appears to be more complete than its Spanish opponents, and that will lead to a tournament title for the Americans.
Prediction: United States 88, Spain 72
All stats via FIBA.com unless noted otherwise.