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U.S. women’s basketball team still has plenty in reserve

FRIDAY, AUG. 3, 2012

LONDON – The U.S. women’s basketball team has been unstoppable at the London Games – and its starters have hardly broken a sweat.

The Americans’ Olympic rookies have led the way.

The U.S. has rolled through its first three opponents, winning by 36 points a game with major contributions from its bench.

They play the Czech Republic today.

The second unit, led by Angel McCoughtry, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore, has been spectacular. The trio sparked the Americans, helping the U.S. shake off a slow start and eventually wear down Turkey in Wednesday’s 31-point win.

“You put them on the floor and they really disrupt the other team on both ends of the floor,” said U.S. coach Geno Auriemma of his reserves.

Buoyed by the success of the second group, Auriemma hasn’t needed much from veterans Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings – all of whom have been instrumental in the team’s 36-game Olympic winning streak. The three captains will be called upon more as the Americans advance into the elimination round, which they qualified for with Wednesday’s win.

“Our second group has done a tremendous job so far,” said Taurasi, who is averaging seven points in 22 minutes. “There’s still a lot of games left and we’ll be ready.”

While the U.S. has clinched a spot in the quarterfinals, the Czechs are still trying to advance.

Today’s highlights

Swimming: Gold-medal finals in men’s 100-meter butterfly, men’s 50 freestyle, women’s 200 backstroke, women’s 800 freestyle. Track and field: Men’s shot-put gold-medal final. Women’s diving: Springboard qualifying. Women’s volleyball: U.S. vs. Serbia. Men’s gymnastics: trampoline gold-medal final.

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