USA women stay unbeaten by flattening France

Updated: September 17, 2006, 7:29 PM ET
Associated Press

BARUERI, Brazil -- Diana Taurasi scored 15 points and Tina Thompson added 12 to help the undefeated United States overpower France 76-41 on Sunday in the second round of the Women's World Basketball Championship.

The United States is 5-0 overall, but credited with a 4-0 mark in Group F because only first-round games against advancing teams count in the second-round standings.

The victory pushed the United States' World Championship winning streak, which dates to the 1994 bronze-medal game, to 24, and also extended the string of victories in the Olympics and Worlds to 48.

"I would say France is stronger defensively than anyone else we've seen," USA coach Anne Donovan said. "They mix it up a little bit with the full-court pressure, the trapping, full-court man-to-man. So they kept the pressure on our point guard bringing the ball up. I thought they did a great job defensively. They forced a lot of turnovers, which has been our focus, not to turn the ball over."

Taurasi had 10 points in the third quarter and the Americans outscored France 23-12 overall in the period to push its lead to 20 points at 59-39. Taurasi made all three of her 3-point attempts, while the United States limited France to 22.1-percent shooting.

"I thought it was a really good game for us," Taurasi said. "Obviously, France has been playing really good basketball, but we came out in the first quarter and dictated the tempo from the get-go, which is what we wanted to do. France didn't go away in the second quarter, they played really tough. We put emphasis on that third quarter and I think that's what put us over the top in the game."

The Americans will finish second-round play Monday against the Czech Republic, second in Group F at 3-1 after an 85-83 victory over Russia.

Eva Viteckova led the Czech Republic with 25 points.

"The Czech team is probably one of the toughest matchups for anyone in the tournament," Taurasi said. "They're so big, they can shoot at any position so it's going to be a tough matchup for us defensively. Defensively we're going to have to continue doing what we do and that's get out on the break and make good decisions. Tomorrow's going to be a good test for us going into the medal rounds and we want to close it out with a good statement."

The top four teams in each of the two second-round groups will advance to the quarterfinals, with the Group F winner facing the fourth-place team in Group E.

France is third in Group F, while Russia, Cuba and China are tied for fourth at 1-3. In the other game Sunday, China beat Cuba 73-70.

Australia tops Group E at 4-0 following an 82-73 win over Brazil. Brazil, Argentina, Lithuania and Spain are all 2-2 and Canada is 0-4. On Sunday, Lithuania beat Argentina 62-47 and Spain routed Canada 85-57.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press