Team USA women's basketball decimated yet another opponent in Rio, this time taking down Serbia, 110-84. They've now scored more than 100 points in each of their first games, destroying every opponent by a total of 131 points.
What was a little different from the team's 65-point win over Senegal and 40-point win over Spain was that Serbia held a steady fight throughout most of the first quarter. The Americans led by just one point, 14-13, midway through the first quarter. The Serbians connected on four three-pointers in a three-minute span, exposing a possible weakness in Team USA's perimeter defense.
But Team USA quickly took control once Diana Taurasi did that thing she has a habit of doing lately, hitting five threes of her own. She was the focal point of the offense again after Brittney Griner had trouble establishing a post game early on. Taurasi finished with 22 points and three assists in just the first half. She'd later beat her own three-point record in the opening of the third quarter.
Breanna Stewart also left her mark for the first time in the opening half. She scored seven points and blocked a jump shot, showing that she could play well if given the minutes on this loaded team. Maya Moore was much more active offensively early than she had been, scoring seven points and adding three assists, two rebounds and two steals in 12 minutes.
Team USA took a 56-34 lead into the half. It's the third consecutive game in which things were over quickly.
The end of the game carried much like it started minus the fire shooting of Taurasi, who cooled down with just three second-half points. Stewart amped up pressure defensively, which led to points on the other end, while Tina Charles worked her way in the paint. Stewart finished with 17 points and Charles scored 15.
But the Serbians kept things from getting too embarrassing, shooting consistently well from deep. They hit six more in the second half to put 84 points on the board in total against a usually-stellar defensive unit.
This was the most challenging of three blowouts for Team USA. They will look to obliterate Canada next on Friday.
3 things we learned
Taurasi, Taurasi, Taurasi
See how her name is there three times. That's because she does her scoring in threes. The Phoenix Mercury guard showed why she's the third-leading scorer all-time in WNBA history when she broke the record that she had already tied in Rio before, hitting six threes.
She had 22 points in just the first half and no team has been able to contain her on the outside. It's tough to imagine what Team USA will look like if she doesn't play in the next Olympics in Tokyo.
The rookie came alive
Stewart hasn't even played a full season of professional basketball yet, and was selected for Team USA in Rio mostly to get a taste at what international play is like. She's surely the 12th-best player on this roster, which is a wild thought considering she'd start for most other countries.
Stewart scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds in what was easily her best of the three games the Americans have played.
Three-point defense needs work
There has to be something wrong with this team, and the closest you could possibly come to a serious criticism is defending the three-point line. Hits from deep were the only reason Serbia stayed alive at all in the opening half, and a majority of Serbia's attempts were relatively uncontested. Team USA's defense is much better on the interior than the perimeter.
Serbia was pretty smart in understanding they weren't going to be able to do much damage against Griner in the post. Because of it, Griner wasn't able to make that much of a difference like she had in the first two games. The Serbians instead challenged Sue Bird and Taurasi on the outside -- and the Serbians won there. They converted on 12 of 20 three-point attempts, with three players each hitting a pair and Danielle Page connecting on four.
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