Diana Taurasi knocked down a personal Olympic best six three-pointers and finished with 25 points as the United States took a big step Wednesday toward the quarterfinals, routing Serbia 110-84.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Diana Taurasi and her U.S. teammates knew they’d be in for a test against Serbia.
The end result was another blowout victory, but the Americans couldn’t put it on cruise control like they had in their first two wins.
Taurasi scored 22 of her Olympic-best 25 points in the first half to help the U.S. beat Serbia 110-84 on Wednesday and advance to the quarterfinals.
The U.S. had easily routed Senegal and Spain in its first two games, winning by an average of 52.5 points. They had a harder time against the hot-shooting Balkan nation.
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“We knew it was going to be tough. We played them in Turkey in 2014 and it was our toughest game at the world championship,” Taurasi said. “They are the European champions for a reason.”
Serbia came out shooting well from behind the arc and led 17-16 — the latest the Americans have trailed in the Olympics — before Taurasi took over. She scored nine points, including two three-pointers, during a 15-4 run to close the opening period.
Taurasi is averaging 17.7 points, her highest ever in the four Olympics she’s played in.
Storm player Breanna Stewart added 17 points and Tina Charles finished with 15 after getting going in the second quarter to help the U.S. extend the advantage to 22 at the half. Taurasi had five three-pointers in the first 20 minutes, equaling her Olympic team record. She broke the mark early in the third quarter and finished the game with six threes to set a new U.S. Olympic mark.
Storm player Sue Bird had two points and three assists.
Next up for the U.S. is Canada on Friday. The Canadians are also undefeated after beating Senegal 68-58 to clinch a quarterfinal berth for the second straight Olympics.