Basketball: Senegal gets Rio mugging from the U.S.

Sun Aug 7, 2016 2:28pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Rio visitors have been warned of the risk of muggings during the Olympics but Senegal still could not avoid a brutal beat down as the U.S. women's basketball team began their bid for a sixth consecutive gold with a 121-56 rout on Sunday.

The result was as predictable as a tourist walking into one of the city's notorious favelas flashing a fistful of hundred dollar bills with Senegal searching for their first Olympic win going up against the all-conquering U.S., a true Olympic dynasty riding a 41-Games unbeaten run.

The 65-point margin of victory was the biggest ever in women's competition at an Olympics, bettering a 60-point win by the U.S. over Zaire at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

''You wait so long to play you're not quite sure what you are going to get, the kids were real anxious to play,'' said U.S. coach Geno Auriemma. ''They (Senegal) played hard and competed hard, obviously they are undermanned talent-wise when it comes to playing against the U.S. but you have to admire their effort.''

There were few witnesses to the crime, however, as the mismatch unfolded in a mostly empty Youth Arena.

Back in the Olympics for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, where they went 0-5, Senegal had the few spectators in their corner, every basket bringing an enthusiastic cheer.

On cruise control from the opening tipoff, the U.S. never felt the need to shift into top gear, speeding to a 35-9 lead in the opening quarter and pulling away.

The U.S. benefits from a top-level college program that churns out basketball players in assembly-line fashion with the best moving on to play in the WNBA.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Preliminary - Women's Preliminary Round Group B USA v Senegal - Youth Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Maya Moore (USA) of USA, Mame Marie Sy (SEN) of Senegal and Brittney Griner (USA) of USA (R) compete. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton