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U.S. runs away from South Korea, 105-64

South Korea was running with the mighty U.S. women's basketball team, cutting and passing with precision, making easy layups, swishing open jumpers.

Enough, said U.S. coach Tara VanDerveer. With the South Koreans burning her team at a 59 percent clip and trailing by only 10 points at halftime Monday, VanDerveer had her talented players start the second half in a matchup zone defense.

The result: 14 second-half points for South Korea, another runaway for the Americans. The 105-64 victory gave the United States a 5-0 record in Olympic preliminary play.

"They were hurting us with some things I thought we could cure with the zone," VanDerveer said. "They were making the shots in the first half and then we were able to disrupt their flow. They like to run around and score and once we went to the zone, they weren't doing that anymore."

South Korea missed 13 of its first 14 shots in the second half and 25 of its first 28. The Koreans finished the half 6-for-35 after going 20-for-34 in the first half.

"We got to their shooters quicker and forced their shooters to take shots they didn't want to take," center Lisa Leslie said.

With South Korea throwing up bricks, the United States began the half with a 17-2 run that took its lead from 60-50 to 77-52. It was no contest after that.

"The important thing is that we're going into the medal round with a lot of confidence," forward Katy Steding said. "There's some good teams on the other side, a couple we haven't played. We'll do a lot of scouting, watch some video and come out ready to play."

Reserve Nikki McCray led five U.S. players in double figures with 16 points as VanDerveer rested her starters extensively. The game was meaningless because the United States already had clinched first place in its pool.

Sheryl Swoopes played more than any starter, and that was only for 18 minutes. She finished with 12 points. Ruthie Bolton added 15, Leslie 14 and Dawn Staley 11. The United States shot 68 percent in the first half and 57 percent for the game.

Jung Sun-Min led South Korea with 17 points, 12 in the first half. After going 6-of-14 from three-point range in the first half, the Koreans were 1-for-24 in the second.

JAPAN 95, CANADA 85 (OT): Mikiko Hagiwara scored nine of her 26 points in overtime as Japan advanced to the quarterfinals.

Japan (2-3) had to win the game to finish fourth in its six-team pool and will face the United States today.

Canada (0-5) had a chance to reach the quarterfinals but had to beat Japan by at least 22 points to win a three-team tiebreaker.

Canada got halfway to that 22-point margin when it took a 68-57 lead with 8:32 to play on a three-pointer by Beverly Smith. But Japan went on a 10-0 run over the next 3:34 to get within one point.

A three-pointer by Hagiwara sent the game into overtime.

She then started the overtime with a three-pointer and Japan was almost perfect during the extra period, making 3 of 4 shots from the field and going 10-for-11 from the foul line. Canada committed consecutive turnovers after pulling within three points with 1:52 left and Japan pulled away.

RUSSIA 94, CHINA 78: Yelena Baranova scored 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as Russia finished preliminary pool play.

Russia (4-1) lost only to Brazil in pool play and will be a strong contender for a medal.

Yevgeniya Nikonova added 16 points and Svetlana Kouznetsova 15 for Russia.

Zheng Dongmei and Ma Zongqing led China (1-4) with 14 points each.

BRAZIL 75, ITALY 73: Janeth Arcain scored with just two seconds remaining and Brazil (5-0) finished the preliminary round at the top of Group A.

Italy (3-2) led by seven points with less than nine minutes to play, fell behind 73-69, then rallied to tie at 73 when Nicoletta Caselin drove into traffic and banked in a layup from the right side with 19 seconds remaining.

Janeth hit the game-winner over Viviana Ballabio just inside the free-throw line.

CUBA 73, ZAIRE 59: Maria Leon scored 15 of her 20 points in the second half as Cuba pulled away and earned a berth in the medal round.

Cuba and South Korea tied for fourth in their six-team preliminary pool at 2-3, but Cuba advances to the quarterfinals because it won their head-to-head game. The Cubans play Brazil (5-0) today.

Mabika Mwadi led Zaire (0-5) with 27 points.

UKRAINE 54, AUSTRALIA 48: Oksana Dovgalyuk scored 15 points and Lyudmila Nazarenko 13 points and 15 rebounds as Ukraine broke a 10-game losing streak against Australia.

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