2012 Olympics: Women’s basketball, day one recap and results

Tina Charles led the U.S. over Croatia. (Photo by Mark W. Sutton)

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Group A – China 66, Czech Republic 57

China started the day on a 15-4 run against the Czech Republic and won their first game of the Games, 66-57. The Czechs tried to get back into the match and at the end of the first quarter were only down by four, 20-16. At the half, the Chinese led 36-29. In the third quarter the Czech’s tied the game up after a three-pointer from Michaela Zrustova but that was the apex of their efforts to take over the game. China finished it out on an 11-2 run.

“In the beginning, we let the Chinese overplay us,” said Czech coach Lubor Blazek. “All game long we were trying to catch up. What we needed was just one time to lead by a couple of points for my team to calm down.”

Ma Zengyu was China’s top scorer with 16 points. Miao Lijie added 12 and dished out eight assists. Song Gao had 10 points and five rebounds and Nan Chen also scored 10 and pulled down eight rebounds.

Eva Viteckova led the Czech Republic with 14 points.

Group B – Russia 58, Canada 53

First-timers Canada almost pulled out a victory over the Russians but in the end Becky Hammon came to the rescue for her squad leading them to a 58-53 win.

Russia started the game on a 10-3 run. After Canadian coach Allison McNeill called a timeout her team seemed to find their game and went on a 14-5 run to take a lead into the second quarter, 17-15. They began the period with the 13-3 run but Russia ended the quarter scoring six consecutive points and narrowed the score to 30-24.

Canada built a ten-point lead in the third quarter but during the fourth Hammon helped Russia roar back. The Russians finished the game with an 18-3 run.

“We know who we are and humble about what we have to do,” said McNeill. “Russia showed their experience down the stretch with an 18-3 run and they punished us. We made some mistakes in transition which is not us because we are very good in transition. I am very proud of our team and we still are ready to upset some people.”

“We know we are a good team,” said Canadian forward, Kim Smith. “The rest of the world may not know that yet, but we’ve been building this program for two years and tonight I think we showed that.”

Hammon led Russia with 14 points and four assists. Alena Danilochkina added 10 points and six assists.

Smith led Canada with 20 points including five 3-pointers.

Group A – Turkey 72, Angola 50

Turkey had no trouble taking down Angola, 72-50, starting the game with 21-8 rout. However, Angola did not completely falter. They fought enough to only trail by 10 at the end of the first half, 35-25. In the third, Turkey widened the margin and started the fourth quarter with a 58-39 lead.

Emine Tugba Palazoglu led Turkey with 13 points and four assists. Bahar Caglar had 11 points and seven rebounds. U.S.-borne player Quanitra Hollingsworth finished with 10 points and four rebounds.

Group A – USA 81, Croatia 56

In the most highly anticipated game of the day, the U.S. had to fight nearly the entire match to pull off a victory against Croatia. A fourth quarter 16-0 run sealed the deal for the U.S. but the first three periods had the makings of a major preliminary round upset.

The U.S. opened shooting 5-of-16 from the field and Croatia made just 2-of-19. The score was 11-4 after the first quarter. Croatia went on a 14-10 run in the second and took a 23-21 lead at 4:43. The U.S. fought back but ended the half with a slim lead, 31-28.

The U.S. struggled on offense, shooting 44.4 percent (32-72 FGs). Croatia shot just 33.3 percent for the game (23-69 FGs). The size of the Americans helped them outrebound Croatia 57-32, and tally 46 points in the paint to Croatia’s 24.

Tina Charles led the U.S. with 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Angel McCoughtry scored 13 points and collected three steals. Candace Parker finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Tamika Catchings had 10 points.

Jelena Ivezic led Croatia with 22 points and Marija Vrsaljko scored 19.

Full game recap | Photo gallery

Group B – France 73, Brazil 58

Without forward Iziane Castro Marques, Brazil fell to France in the first game of the preliminary round 73-58. However, it was close game and the teams entered halftime tied at 34. France managed to earn a three-point lead by the end of the third, 52-49.

Celine Dumerc led France with 23 points, five assists and four steals. Erika Souza had 17 points for Brazil.

Group B – Australia 74, Great Britain 58

Down the stretch, Australia had no trouble defeating host nation Great Britain in their first match of the Games. The British started the game on an 11-0 run but Australia gained the lead in the second quarter and never looked back

The Australian Olympic team flag bearer Lauren Jackson lead her team with 18 points and five rebounds. Suzy Batkovic  scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Three other players had eight points.

For Great Britain Johannah Leedham and Rachel Vanderwal finished with 11 points each. Natalie Stafford added 10.

Full game recap

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