washingtonpost.com  > Sports > Leagues and Sports > Olympics > 2004 > Sport-by-Sport > Women's Basketball

U.S. Gains Decisive Victory Over Czech Republic

Tuesday, August 17, 2004; Page D11

At least there's one U.S. basketball team that can still shoot straight. And these women rebound pretty well, too.

With a dominating performance on the boards and two big scoring spurts, the United States overcame another slow start and beat the Czech Republic, 80-61.


Yolanda Griffith, right, battles the Czech Republic's Michala Vorackova. (Michael Conroy -- AP)


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The victory came a day after the U.S. men suffered a stunning 92-73 loss to Puerto Rico in their Athens opener.

"I think any time your team comes and watches the men's team get beat, you want to make sure that doesn't happen to you," U.S. Coach Van Chancellor said.

With key contributions from Tina Thompson and reserve Yolanda Griffith, the United States went on a 14-point first-quarter spurt to take the lead, then blew it open with a 16-2 run at the start of the second half.

"We talked at halftime that one of the things we've really been struggling with the past four games is that in the third quarter, we don't come out and attack," Tamika Catchings said. "And that's the one thing coach said. . . . we had to come out in the first five minutes and needed to go at them and attack them and that's what we did."

Lisa Leslie led the United States with 15 points, Thompson scored 12 and Griffith had 10. Quicker than its taller opponents, the United States outrebounded the Czech Republic, 43-22, and crashed the offensive boards.


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