Diana Taurasi had a career game to help the U.S. women's basketball team top Serbia.
Taurasi scored 22 of her Olympic-best 25 points in the first half to help the Americans beat Serbia 110-84 on Wednesday.
While the U.S. had easily routed Senegal and Spain in its first two games, winning by an average of 52.5 points, they had a harder time against the hot-shooting Balkan nation.
Serbia came shooting well from behind the arc and led 17-16 — the latest the Americans have trailed in the Olympics — before Taurasi took over. She scored nine points, including two 3-pointers, during a 15-4 run to close the opening period.
Tina Charles, who finished with 15 points, got going in the second quarter to help the U.S. extend the advantage to 22 at the half. Taurasi had five 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, equaling her Olympic team record. She broke the mark early in the third quarter and finished the game with six 3's to set a new U.S. Olympic mark.
While Serbia could never recover from its halftime deficit, the Serbians did make the U.S. work on both ends of the floor. They kept pace with the U.S. in the third quarter, only being outscored by one point. Serbia finished the game 12-for-20 from behind the 3-point arc.
The U.S. (3-0) has been scoring at a record pace, topping 100 points for the third consecutive game. The Americans have never done that in the Olympics and are on pace to break the 102.4 points a game the 1996 team averaged en route to the gold medal that started this run of five straight that the U.S. is currently on. The victory was the 44th consecutive for the Americans in the Olympics.
The U.S. had only played Serbia once in major international competition, beating the Balkan nation by 20 points at the 2014 world championship. Serbia has had a disappointing first Olympics after winning the Eurobasket last year. The Serbians lost their first two games by a combined eight points, including blowing an 18-point lead against Canada. Now they sit at 0-3 and in danger of not making it to the quarterfinals.
Next up for the U.S. is Canada on Friday.
In other action:
Spain routs China
Alba Torrens scored 32 points to lead Spain to an 89-68 win over China Wednesday as the Spaniards improved their position in women's basketball group play behind the undefeated U.S. and Canada.
Astou Ndour added 21 points, and guard Leticia Romero, who plays at Florida State, added 16.
Spain (2-1) moved ahead of China (1-2) in Group B. Spain already has a 40-point loss to the Americans; China plays the United States on the final day of group play Sunday.
China (1-1) led 18-14 after the first quarter, but Spain took a 41-38 lead into halftime with the teams almost matching shots. China last led 46-45 and managed a tie at 48. That's when Spain finally went on a 15-4 run to take control and just padded the lead through the fourth quarter on its way what wound up a rout.
Ting Shao led China with 14 points.
Canada tops Senegal
Kia Nurse scored 14 points and Tamara Tatham added 13 as Canada clinched its second straight berth in the women's basketball quarterfinals, beating Senegal 68-58 on Wednesday night.
Canada's win also clinched a spot in the quarterfinals for the U.S., and the teams will play Friday with the unbeaten Canadians needing a better start than they managed against the African nation still looking for its first Olympic win in its second games.
Senegal (0-3) scored the first five points before captain Kim Gaucher finally knocked down the first shot for Canada (3-0) with 6:15 left in the first quarter. That was the first of 10 straight points as Canada took the lead for good and was up 17-10 after the first quarter and 33-24 at halftime.
Canada led by 15 early in the fourth quarter, but Senegal pulled within seven with 2:59 left giving its growing group of roaring fans hope of a first victory before Canada finished off the win.