Maya Moore leads U.S. at worlds


OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- It would have been easy for the U.S. women's basketball team to coast to another rout after building a 33-point halftime lead.

Instead the Americans focused on coming out strong to start the second half -- something they've struggled with lately.

The U.S. scored 10 of the first 12 points in the third quarter Friday en route to a 108-52 victory over Senegal at the women's basketball world championship.

Even up 46 points later in the period, Candice Dupree hustled back defensively to stop a Senegal break, then sprinted down to the other end of the floor to score an easy layup.

"Coach [Geno] Auriemma talked about that in the locker room," point guard Sue Bird said. "The start of the third quarter is something the team has struggled with a bit. It's been an emphasis and we wanted to come out and put a stamp on the game in the beginning of the third."

In an exhibition against Senegal last week, which the Americans won by 42 points, the teams were tied in the third quarter. The U.S. had the same problem in Thursday's win over Greece. Up by 17 at the half, the Greeks played them even in the third quarter.

"I think sometimes the mentality of professional basketball players is that they play so many games that you get a big lead like we had and it's a chance to relax," Auriemma said. "You don't have a lot of games in this tournament. If you're lucky you get to play nine. There's no time to relax.

"We had a better second half than first half, which is a good sign."

Maya Moore scored 15 points and Dupree added 14 to lead a balanced U.S. offense that had six players in double figures. Swin Cash and Tina Charles had 11 each, and Lindsay Whalen and Sylvia Fowles each scored 10.

"We have so much talent on this team and at any point any player on this team goes off," Bird said. "That's where our advantage lies. We do have the depth. We can go 12 deep and it could be anyone in double figures, six people or seven people."

The game quickly turned into a rout for the Americans, who broke the 100-point mark for the 14th time in world championship play.

The United States (2-0), which has had its team together only for a few days, went on an early 17-0 run that looked like a pregame layup drill. Diana Taurasi started it with consecutive three-point plays.

Awa Gueye ended Senegal's 5-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer from the corner, but the Americans scored 18 of the next 24 points, hitting five more layups to put the game away.

"Sometimes the offense looks pretty good," Auriemma said. "Tonight it looked really good at times."

Fatou Dieng scored 10 points to lead Senegal (0-2).

Japan 59, Argentina 58

Yuko Oga's layup as time expired lifted Japan to a victory over Argentina.

Trailing by one, Oga got the ball and drove baseline, scoring around two Argentina defenders just before the buzzer.

She finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead Japan (1-1). Hiromi Suwa added 14 points.

Carolina Sanchez scored 16 points and Florencia Fernandez added 15 for Argentina (0-2), which trailed by nine entering the fourth quarter. The Argentineans opened the period with a 12-2 run to take a 54-53 lead. The teams then exchanged baskets with Sanchez's jumper giving Argentina a 58-57 advantage with 51 seconds left.

Canada 65, China 61

Canada coach Allison McNeill didn't have high expectations going in, knowing her squad was in a tough group with three Olympic teams. But after the upset win over China, she might have to set some new goals.

"We're more than a little bit excited about this," McNeill said. "It's a great win. We know when we looked at the draw and saw 2, 4, and 6 from the Olympics, and we weren't in the Olympics, that we would have to play well."

Kim Smith scored 25 points to lead Canada (1-1), which will play Belarus Saturday to close out Group A play. Canada advanced out of the first round in 2006 after a 12-year absence from the tournament. The Canadians haven't won a medal since 1986, when they earned a bronze.

Russia 55, Czech Republic 52

Becky Hammon scored six of her 13 points in the fourth quarter to help Russia (2-0), which led by eight in the fourth quarter before the host nation cut its deficit to 46-44 on Katerina Elhotova's 3-pointer with 6:15 left. Russia then went on a 9-2 run, capped by Hammon's layup with 2:42 left that made it 55-46.

The Czechs (1-1) refused to go down quietly, scoring the next six points.

Hana Horakova, who led the Czech Republic with 21 points, made the first of two free throws with 25 seconds left after she was fouled by Hammon to make it 55-52. Horakova missed the second and the Czechs couldn't get off another shot.

Australia 83, Belarus 59

Belinda Snell scored 17 points while Lauren Jackson and Kristi Harrower each added 13 for Australia (2-0), which trailed 20-14 midway through the first quarter before getting going on offense.

Penny Taylor returned for Australia after sitting out the opening win over Canada. Taylor, who injured her back in an exhibition game against the U.S. last week, didn't play in the first half, but started the second. She played 11 minutes and had four points.

Anastasiya Verameyenka scored 14 points and Nataliya Trafimava added 12 for Belarus (1-1).

France 69, Greece 55

Nwal-Endene Miyem scored 19 points and Jennifer Digbeu added 11 to lead France, which built a 17-point halftime advantage and coasted to the easy win.

Styliani Kaltsidou and Olga Chatzinkolaou each had 12 points to lead Greece (0-2). Evanthia Maltsi, who scored 29 in the opening loss to the U.S., was held to just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

Spain 80, South Korea 69

Sancho Lyttle had 28 points and 15 rebounds for Spain, which led by six at the half. After South Korea scored the first basket of the third quarter, the Spaniards scored nine straight to extend their advantage to 45-32 on Amaya Valdemoro's jumper. She had 15 of her points in the second half.

Beon Yeon Ha scored 23 to lead Korea (1-1).

Brazil 80, Mali 73

Helen Luz scored 20 points and Erika de Souza added 18 to help Brazil avoid Mali's upset bid. Brazil (1-1) clung to a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter before Luz scored all nine points during a 9-2 spurt that gave the Brazilians a cushion.

Djene Diawara scored 15 points to lead five Mali players in double figures. Djenebou Sissoko and Naignouma Coulibaly added 12 each for Mali (2-0), which was trying to pull off its first win at worlds.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.