U.S. opens worlds defense with big win vs. China
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Sue Bird led all scorers with 20 points and Candace Parker had 12 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday to lead the two-time defending champion United States to a 119-72 victory over China on the opening day of the Women's World Basketball Championship.
Tina Thompson and Diana Taurasi had 17 points each and Seimone Augustus added 10 as the Americans recorded the most lopsided victory of the opening day.
Earlier in the day, Amaya Valdemoro scored 17 points and led Spain to an 87-57 win over South Korea.
Elisa Aguilar had 15 points, Marta Fernandez added 13 and Ana Montanana chipped in with 12 in the nearby city of Barueri as the Spanish, whose male counterparts won the men's championship earlier this month, overcame 50 percent field-goal shooting by outrebounding the South Koreans 39-18.
In other games, Helen scored with 10 seconds remaining to give Brazil a 71-69 victory over archrival Argentina in Sao Paulo.
Lithuania finally made it into Brazil after being help up in French Guyana because of travel problems but still had to forfeit its first game -- against Australia -- because it didn't arrive in time.
The team, which had been training in Martinique, was forced to fly through French Guyana on Sunday because its scheduled flight to Sao Paulo was canceled. But because of a yellow fever outbreak in French Guyana and the Lithuanian team not being inoculated against the disease, the players were refused entry into Brazil.
After days of diplomatic negotiating and subsequent vaccinations, Brazilian officials waived the normal 10-day quarantine and the team was to arrive in Sao Paulo late Tuesday.
Elsewhere, in Barueri, France defeated the Czech Republic 62-58, Cuba downed Taiwan 75-20, and Russia trounced Nigeria 84-50.
In a late game, Tammy Sutton-Brown had 15 points, helping Canada build an 11-point lead midway through the final quarter. But the Charlotte Sting center fouled out a minute later, and Canada hung on to beat Senegal 65-64.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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