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USA women rout Czech Republic

BEIJING, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The United States survived a sluggish start Saturday and routed the Czech Republic 97-57 on the first day of the Olympic women's basketball tournament.

The Americans found themselves trailing by 11 when Eva Viteckova made a three-pointer just 2:14 into the game, but a quick 8-point U.S. run calmed things down.

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Playing in Group B during the preliminary action, the United States isn't expected to face any real challenge as it bids for its sixth gold medal in seven Olympics.

Other games in the Americans' group Saturday saw New Zealand defeat Mali 76-72 and China nip Spain 67-64. The United States will next play China on Monday.

In Group A, Australia also overcame an early deficit to defeat Belarus 83-64. Australia has won the silver medal in each of the last two Olympics.

Team USA took the lead for good at 19-17 with 1:24 remaining in the first period on a field goal by Tamika Catchings and went on to build an 18-point halftime lead.

Sylvia Fowles led the way with 18 points and Diana Taurasi had 17 for the Americans.

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