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US women's basketballers starts title defending
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The US women's basketball team on Saturday started its Olympic title defending campaign in Beijing with a 97-57 victory over the Czech Republic.

US President George W. Bush, together with NBA super stars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Chris Bosh, came to watch the game and cheered for the American girls at the Wukesong Olympic Basketball Gymnasium.

The USA women came from a first quarter 10-17 behind and went on a 12-0 run to enter the second quarter with 22-17 lead and never had any trouble since then.

The USA's full-throttle offense and relentless defense began to pay dividends as the Americans outscored the Czech 27-14 in the second period and closed the half up 49-31.

At the intermission, the USA had forced the Czechs into 13 turnovers while making seven steals. The USA shot a 49 percent in the first two quarters, and the Czech were 36 percent shooting.

The Czechs continued to struggle but the Americans widened the gap to 91-53 with 3:50 minutes left and sealed the victory by 40 points.

Diana Taurasi scored 17 points to lead the Americans. Sylvia Fowles added 16 and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and Cappie Pondexter tossed in 12. Lisa Leslie recorded 10 boards and four points in her 17 minutes playing time.

Eva Viteckova was the only one for the Czech side to score double digits with 12 points.

The United States will meet China, who edged European runner-up Spain earlier Sunday, 67-64, while the Czech Republic faces on Mali, who lost to New Zealand 72-76.

(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2008)

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