USA Completes Perfect Preliminary Round By Defeating China

Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and the United States closed out the preliminary round of the Olympics with a 105-62 win over China on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

Now 5-0 in this tournament, the USA has gone unbeaten through the preliminary round in each of its last nine Olympic appearances. The Americans had 40 assists on 46 field goals against China, setting a new team record for assists in an Olympic game. They reached 100 points for the fourth time in five games, now averaging 104 per contest. The USA record, set in the 1996 Olympics, is 102.4 points per game.

Bird was one of five USA players that dished out five or more assists on Sunday, also notching seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. The Storm guard had five dimes and zero turnovers in 23 minutes, the third time she’s done so in this tournament. Stewart, who battled many of the players she’ll face in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association during the WNBA offseason, finished with six points, three assists and two steals in 13 minutes.

Brittney Griner and Tina Charles led the USA with 18 points apiece. Mengran Sun paced China – which finishes 1-4 in the preliminary round – with 16 points.

Sunday’s game was a blowout right from the start, as Charles scored 10 points during a 22-3 run in the opening seven minutes. It was 32-9 after the first quarter and 41-14 after a Bird three-pointer early in the second. The USA took a 60-26 lead into halftime and never looked back.

The Americans are three victories away from achieving their sixth straight gold medal, and a fourth straight for Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings. They will meet Storm forward Ramu Tokashiki and Japan in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Led by Tokashiki, Japan went 3-2 in its group despite entering as the second-lowest ranked team in the Olympics.