Thompson keys 23-0 run as US routs China
BEIJING (AP) The U.S. women's basketball team quickly dashed any hopes China had of an upset, avenging a loss in April with the second American drubbing of the Chinese in as many nights.
Tina Thompson scored 13 of her 27 points during a 23-0 run in the first quarter and the U.S. routed China 108-63 on Monday night, taking the boisterous crowd out of the game early.
"We were really locked in and focused," U.S. co-captain Katie Smith said. "We didn't want to let them stick around. We wanted to let the crowd know that we were ready to play. You don't want to play around with teams, if you have a chance to make a statement and put them away early you do that."
Trailing by one midway through the first quarter, Thompson took over. She made two 3-pointers, a jumper from the corner, two layups, and three free throws during the spurt.
"I just got good looks at the basket tonight," Thompson said. "It was the first time they weren't doubling the post."
By the time Kobe Bryant and the rest of the men's team settled into their seats at the end of the first quarter the U.S. was up 33-11.
The American men beat China 101-70 Sunday night.
After the scoring run, the women never looked back.
Bian Lan finally ended China's 6½ minute scoreless drought early in the second quarter with a jumper that rattled around the rim before dropping in. China missed 12 straight shots and turned the ball over three times during its drought.
The U.S. (2-0) didn't stop at its 22-point lead, extending its advantage to 61-27 at the half. The Americans cruised the rest of the way. Thompson finished the half with 21 points, going 8-for-9 from the field. Her only miss was a 3-pointer.
"It was one of those nights," Thompson said. "Anyone on this team could do it any given night."
She fell short of Lisa Leslie's Olympic record of 35 points set against Japan in 1996.
Miao Lijie scored 16 points to lead China (1-1), which suffered its worst loss to the U.S. in Olympic history, surpassing a 100-62 defeat in 2004.
"I don't feel the defeat today brings too much pressure," said Chen Nan, who added 14 points for China. "The score is not that important."
Sylvia Fowles added 18 points, Candace Parker 12, and Leslie had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the U.S.
The women's team took in the electric atmosphere the night before during the men's victory against China. They were determined to take the crowd out of the game early. The Americans got off to a much better start than their first game, when they found themselves trailing 13-2 to the Czech Republic before turning the game into a rout.
"Watching the game from the stands last night really motivated us," said DeLisha Milton-Jones. "Seeing LeBron (James) block a shot with two hands off the backboard and just the way they were playing defense got us ready. Everyone came into this game knowing the crowd could be a factor."
The U.S. seemed focused to play the host country after losing to them in the gold medal game of the Good Luck Beijing tournament in April. However, that U.S. team only had four players from the current Olympic team on it.
China figured to be the toughest test for the Americans in their pool. Up next will be a matchup with Mali (0-2), which lost Hamchetou Maiga of the Houston Comets to an ankle injury in the third quarter of a 81-47 loss to the Czechs.
In other games Monday, Russia edged South Korea 77-72; Belarus topped Latvia 79-57; Australia beat Brazil 80-65; and Spain defeated New Zealand 85-62.