USA 90, Russia 80

USA Tops Russia to Finish 3-0 in Preliminary Round at FIBA World Championship

BARUERI, Brazil, Sept. 14 (Ticker) - The United States is getting used to fast starts.

Tina Thompson scored 19 points and Candace Parker added 17 as the U.S. clinched first place in Group C with a 90-80 victory over Russia in the FIBA Women's World Championship.

DeLisha Milton-Jones added 14 points and eight rebounds for the U.S., the defending two-time champions who improved to 3-0, with all its victories coming by double digits.

"We feel very pleased that we were able to beat a very good Russian team tonight," U.S. coach Anne Donovan said. "I thought we played well at the start of the game and had moments in the second half where we looked very good and we had moments where we struggled a little bit. So I was very pleased to get a win against a very good team."

In their latest win, the Americans scored the game's first nine points and built a 55-39 halftime lead. Russia (2-1) got as close as eight points in the third quarter.

After struggling with its shooting Wednesday against Nigeria, the U.S. made 11-of-17 3-pointers against Russia. Thompson led the way, going 4-of-4 from the arc.

"I think partially it was a good shooting night," Thompson said. "But I was pretty open a lot of the time. I think probably three of them were uncontested and I think that at this level you can't let players take wide open shots. It's something we practice everyday and I was surprised myself that I got those looks - but happy that I was able to knock them down."

The U.S. will meet Cuba in the second round Saturday afternoon.

Maria Stepanova scored 16 points and Natali Vodopynova added 13 for Russia.

Also on Thursday, Gisella Vega scored 32 points as Argentina (2-1) clinched first place in Group A by virtue of a tiebreaker with a 73-64 victory over South Korea (0-3). Spain (2-1) posted a 67-66 victory over Brazil (2-1).

In Group D, the Czech Republic (2-1) claimed the top spot with a 93-72 victory over Chinese Taipei (0-3) behind 23 points from Eva Viteckova.

Cuba and France also finished with 2-1 records in Group D, but the Czech Republic finished first based on a tiebreaker. Cuba posted a 78-73 victory over France on Thursday.

Lauren Jackson scored 23 points as Australia (3-0) secured the top spot in Group B with a 97-65 rout of Canada (1-2).

Also in Group B, Lithuania (2-1) had five players score in double figures en route to a 74-63 victory over Senegal (0-3).

Lithuania's only loss came when it had to forfeit its game against Australia, when it was held up in French Guyana due to travel problems.

In the final Group C game of the day, China (1-2) coasted to a 71-59 victory over Nigeria (0-3).