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US women beat China, roll to basketball quarterfinals

By Jim Souhan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

LONDON — Before the Olympics began, U.S. women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma spoke of how much teams around the world have improved and how, despite his squad’s dominance, he would have to be wary.

So far, his biggest challenge has been finding adequate playing time for all of his best players and being accused of running up the score on overmatched opponents.

Sunday afternoon, the U.S. beat China 114-66 to secure an undefeated record in pool play and set up a quarterfinal with Canada on Tuesday. The U.S. tied its Olympic record for points scored and spent the interview period talking more about staving off complacency than dealing with worrisome future matchups.

The Americans have won 38 consecutive Olympic games. Sunday, Diana Taurasi scored 22 points, and Lynx forward Maya Moore turned in her second consecutive strong performance, with 12 points and seven rebounds.

“We want to make sure that we’re getting better every game,” Moore said. “That’s what we’ve tried to do. We try not to play to the score. We try to evaluate our effort and our results by our standards.”

The result is blowouts, as the Americans play intensely on defense and attack the basket even when the game is out of reach.

Lynx forward Seimone Augustus had eight points and three rebounds, and Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen had 10 points and four assists. The United States won by 48, and Whalen was lamenting her turnovers. That’s the mindset that has led to world domination.

“Today, we had a lot of assists, which is a good sign for us,” Whalen said of her team’s 33 assists. “And our defensive rotation was good. Those are our keys.”

The other quarterfinal matchups will be undefeated France against the Czech Republic; Australia will play China; and Russia will meet Turkey.

The Americans (5-0) haven’t lost a game in the preliminary round since 1976 — the first time that women’s basketball was played in the Olympics.

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