Basketball: Unbeaten U.S. target Japan in last eight
By Steve Keating
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The U.S. women's basketball team wrapped up Olympic preliminary round play in familiar blowout style by routing China 105-62 on Sunday, storming into the quarter-finals unbeaten and on course for a sixth straight gold medal.
Serbia also secured a spot in the last eight, grinding out a 95-88 victory over winless Senegal, while Spain beat Canada 73-60 in the final Group B clash to set the matchups.
Group B top-seeded United States have their next opponent, 16th ranked Japan, in their crosshairs while Serbia get unbeaten Australia, Group A's top seed.
The other games, all scheduled for Tuesday, will see 2012 London silver medalists France take on Canada and Spain face Turkey.
No nation faces a more daunting task than fourth-seeded Japan, who will try to end the Americans' 46-game Olympic winning run that dates back to the 1992 Barcelona Games.
With an overall record of 63-3, Olympic losses are rare for the U.S., but Japan can claim one of them, although it occurred 40 years ago at the 1976 Montreal Games.
"I actually saw Japan play Australia earlier this week, and I thought they looked amazing," said U.S. head coach Geno Auriemma. "They’re big, they’re talented, they’re tough.
"They’re a lot like Serbia in that they can really make you look silly on defense. Continued...