Bird and Stewart Continue Stellar Play as USA Defeats Spain

Storm teammates Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart scored nine points apiece, and the United States improved to 2-0 in the preliminary round of the Olympics with a 103-63 win over Spain on Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

Diana Taurasi paced the USA with 13 points, while Elena Delle Donne and Sylvia Fowles each added 12 off the bench. Including a 121-56 victory over Senegal in their first game, the Americans have scored 100 or more points in back-to-back Olympic contests for the first time since 2004.

After recording eight assists and zero turnovers on Sunday, Bird was in command again with five assists and zero turnovers against Spain. The USA’s starting point guard also made four of her seven shots and had five rebounds in 23 minutes. Stewart followed up a 15-point outing in her Olympic debut by going 2-for-2 from the field and 5-of-6 at the foul line in 10 minutes on Monday.

Spain, No. 3 in the FIBA World Rankings behind the USA and Australia, had won its first game over the weekend. Alba Torrens led Spain with a game-high 20 points against the USA, and San Antonio Stars forward Astou Ndour had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Unlike Sunday’s opener against Senegal, the USA trailed in the early going, as Spain held an 8-6 edge after three minutes. But the Americans then outscored Spain 23-6 in the remainder of the period, aided by seven first-quarter points from Delle Donne.

Stewart checked in for the first time late in the second quarter, scoring five of the USA’s final 11 points of the half. The USA outscored Spain by just two in the second quarter, taking a 54-37 lead into halftime.

For the first bucket of the second half, Bird picked off a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup. That started a dominant run for the USA, which led 74-51 after three quarters. As part of another run early in the fourth, Bird drove past her defender and finished before assisting Maya Moore’s fast-break layup on the next play to make it 86-53.

The USA will next face Serbia – which lost to Spain in its opener – on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. PT.