Tue, Aug 07, 2012 - Page 18 News List

London 2012 Olympics: US, France win their last group games, head to quarter-final


The US’ Lindsay Whalen, left, is guarded by China’s Xiaoyun Song during their women’s preliminary round Group A basketball match at the Basketball Arena in London on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

The US and France won their final group games on Sunday to remain undefeated at the women’s basketball competition and make sure they cannot meet until the Olympic final.

The US beat China 114-66, turning the game into a rout after a close first quarter, and tied the mark for points by an American Olympic team. American women also scored 114 points against Spain in 1992. Brazil holds the scoring mark of 128 points set in 2004.

“We’ve got a lot of good offensive players,” US coach Geno Auriemma said. “When everything is clicking and we’re in sync and the ball’s moving like it was today, we’re a fun team to watch and hopefully everyone who was watching enjoyed it.”

French captain Celine Dumerc scored 12 points to lead France past Russia 65-54. After beating both Australia and Britain in overtime, France did not need any late game shots to get past Russia.

On the final day of group games, Australia beat Canada 72-63 and the Czech Republic defeated Angola 82-47.

In today’s quarter-finals, the US will play Canada, France take on the Czech Republic, Australia play China and Russia take on Turkey.

Diana Taurasi scored 22 points for the Americans, who are seeking their fifth straight gold medal.

China was able to hang with the US for a quarter behind their own hot shooting before the Americans turned the game into a blowout with a huge second-quarter run.

“Sometimes you play a game things are off a little bit off and today, even in the first quarter when they hung in there and were playing really well, I felt like we were playing a little better, in a little bit better of a flow and that carried on through the 40 minutes,” Taurasi said.

The victory was the Americans’ 38th straight in Olympic play.

China got the scoring started early, hitting 10 of their first 15 shots. China led 28-25 with 1:25 left in the first quarter after Song Xiaoyun hit a deep 3-pointer from way behind the top of the key.

However, then the Americans took over and took off, turning up their defensive pressure.

The four-time defending gold medalists went on a 29-6 run over the next 9 minutes to take control of the game.

Liz Cambage scored 19 points and Lauren Jackson made some big plays down the stretch to lead Australia over Canada.

Jackson had 18 points for the three-time silver medalists.

Cambage had 15 points in the first half as Australia (4-1) led 35-22 at halftime after scoring the first 12 points of the game.

Jackson hit six straight free throws, grabbed two key defensive rebounds and a steal in the last minute after Canada cut the Australians’ lead to three on Courtney Pilypaitis’ 3-pointer with 1:11 to play. Kim Smith led Canada with 17 points.

Eva Viteckova scored all 19 of her points in the first half to lead the Czech Republic over Angola.

Viteckova helped the Czechs build a 15-point lead at the half, hitting all eight of her shots — including three 3-pointers. The Czechs, silver medalists at the 2010 world championship, poured on the pressure in the second half behind Michaela Zrustova, who scored all 20 of her points after the break.

Nacissela Mauricio scored 18 points for Angola (0-5), which finished winless in their first Olympics on Sunday, and a spot in the Olympic women’s basketball quarter-finals.

France led by four early in the third quarter before Dumerc sparked a 17-3 run that made it 44-26 with 4:07 left. Dumerc had seven points and two assists during the burst.

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