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Australia crushes Czech 79-46 in women's basketball
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World champion Australia hammered the Czech Republic 79-46 on Tuesday in an Olympic women's basketball quarterfinal.

It was the fourth consecutive semifinals for the Australians, who will face host China, who eliminated Belarus 77-62 earlier in another quarterfinal, on Thursday in the semifinal pursue an Olympic gold since the Sydney 2000.

"I know they (China) are planning to win the semifinal," said Belinda Snell, who had 15 points and 9 rebounds for Australia.

"They got an Australian coach and an Australian assistant coach, who are quite familiar with us. We will take it seriously and come out strong."

The Australians took control from the very beginning and were nver under the threat. They built a 38-17 halftime lead and expanded the advantage to 41 points, 71-30, on Enin Phillips' 3-pointers with 7:37 to play in the fourth quarter en route to the easy victory.

Lauren Jackson contributed a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Australians, who lost their star Penny Taylor only two minutes into the third period with a right foot injury.

"Penny sprained her ankle," Australian doctor Scott Burne said. "We will have to apply ice every two hours during the next 24 hours, lots of compression and rest. We are confident. If she misses the semifinal, she will be in the final."

Australia outshot the Czech Republic 57 percent to 25 percent and outrebounded them 58-37. The Aussie also forced 19 turnovers while committed 12.

Rohanee Cox added 10 points for the Australian. No Czechs scored a double figure with Ivana Vecerova and Hana Machova hitting eight each.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2008)

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