Rested U.S. women pick up speed

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2012 - 11:55 PM

Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen helped turned an early hole into a rout, making the U.S. squad 4-0 in London.

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USA's Maya Moore, right, hauled down a rebound against the Czech Republic's Jana Vesela during a women's basketball game Friday.

Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press

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LONDON - After enjoying a day off from the Olympic basketball tournament, Maya Moore said she felt like a whole new person. The Lynx forward played like the same old one against the Czech Republic on Friday, which suited her U.S. team just fine.

Moore scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds and generally created havoc for the overwhelmed Czechs in an 88-61 rout at the Olympic basketball arena. The Czechs scored the game's first 10 points and held a 26-24 lead after the first quarter. The U.S., fueled by a team Olympic record of 62 rebounds, then went on a 22-6 run in the second to race to a 10-point halftime lead.

The Americans outscored the Czechs 20-3 to open the third quarter, stretching the lead to 68-41. The victory moved them to 4-0 in pool play, which ends Sunday against China. The U.S. already has clinched a place in the quarterfinals and extended its Olympic winning streak to 37 games.

Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen finished with eight points and nine rebounds, and Lynx teammate Seimone Augustus had five points.

"That's my job,'' said Moore, who also had eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot. "When I get in the game, I just want to cause chaos for the other team.

"We wanted to pressure them, to wear them out as quickly as possible, because the depth of our team is our strength. That's what we did. We came in waves. Whoever's in the game, we expect them to go 100 percent, and when we do that, that's when runs happen.''

The Americans on Thursday got their first day off since the team came together on July 14. Some of them went sightseeing or spent time with their families. Moore relaxed with a pedicure, then got right back to work Friday.

The Czechs hit six three-pointers in the first quarter, while the U.S. did not score until Moore made a three-pointer after 2 minutes, 15 seconds had elapsed. Whalen gave the Americans their first lead at 17-15, but the Czechs kept it close until Tina Charles sparked the second-quarter run with six consecutive points. At the same time, the U.S. defense locked down the Czechs, who missed their final 10 three-point attempts.

Moore and her teammates are outscoring their opponents by 34 points per game in the Olympic tournament.

"It's about how you respond,'' Moore said. "You have to figure out a way to overcome. That's what we did.''

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