Another game, another rout for the U.S. women's basketball team. This time though, it wasn't record setting.
Diana Taurasi scored 13 points and Elena Delle Donne added 12 to help the Americans beat Spain 103-63 on Monday in women's group play.
The victory was the 43rd consecutive for the U.S. (2-0) in the Olympics. The contest was a rematch of the 2014 world championship gold medal game that the Americans won by 13. While this win didn't come in the same record fashion the U.S. opened the Olympics with when it beat Senegal by 65 points, the Americans coasted after the first few minutes.
Spain (1-1) led 8-6 before the U.S. closed the quarter on a 23-6 burst. Once again first-time Olympian Delle Donne was in the middle of it. She had seven points, including a 3-pointer from the wing that made it 27-11 during the game-changing spurt. The Spaniards couldn't get within single digits the rest of the way.
The U.S. was nowhere as crisp as it was in the opening rout of Senegal, and Spain had a lot to do with that.
Coach Geno Auriemma experimented with different lineups trying to come up with a combination that could execute. He put the four Minnesota Lynx players on the court together for the first time. Maya Moore had been in the starting group while Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles have been playing with the second unit. While the group couldn't increase the lead much in their brief time playing together, it was surely a delight for Minnesota fans.
Spain fought to just to stay within 20 in the second quarter, thanks in part to the play of guard Leticia Romero, who stars at Florida State. The Olympic newcomer got her first playing time of the tournament and scored five straight points as Spain trailed 54-37 at the half. She finished with nine points.
Sue Bird wouldn't let Spain get any closer. Playing in her fourth Olympics, Bird started the second half with a steal and then raced down the court for the layup. A few minutes later the lead was over 20 and the rout was on as Taurasi and Brittney Griner waved their arms to get a "USA" chant started. In Sunday's win over Senegal, the crowd was behind the underdogs shouting down any American cheers. This time they wouldn't be drowned out.
Alba Torrens, who the Connecticut Sun have the rights to in the WNBA, led Spain with 20 points.
Spain missed the 2012 Olympics, but won the silver at the worlds. The Spaniards have never beaten the U.S. in a major competition, falling to 0-10 at the Olympics and world championships.
The U.S., which scored 100 or more points in consecutive games for the first time since the 2004 Olympics, next plays Serbia on Wednesday while Spain faces China.
While the U.S.-Spain showdown highlighted the day's on-court action, there were three other games Monday.
Canada completes comeback against Serbia
UConn Huskies women's basketball players have shown they can deliver in the clutch and Kia Nurse stepped up Monday, scoring 25 points off Canada's bench as the Canadians rallied to stun Serbia 71-67 after trailing by 18 in the third quarter.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe's three-point play put Canada ahead to stay, 68-67 with 48.4 left, to finish off the amazing rally.
Against Serbia, the Canadians (2-0) needed Nurse, a guard who will be a junior at UConn this fall. She scored 10 in the first half and nine more in the third when Canada trailed 52-34.
Fans kept chanting "Ca-na-da" as the Canadians simply smothered and outscored Serbia 26-10 in the fourth quarter.
Serbia (0-2) will regret this missed opportunity in its Olympic debut. Jelena Milanovic scored 19 points, and Sonja Petrovic had 15.
Japan blew out Brazil
Japan is off to its best start in women's basketball in 20 years after routing host Brazil 82-66 Monday night for a second straight victory.
The Japanese didn't qualify in 2008 or 2012 and won only once in 2004. Now they are a win from matching their three victories in Atlanta when Japan went 3-5 and finished seventh.
Japan led 47-33 at halftime. The Japanese built that lead to as much as 27 in the third before Brazil went on a 12-4 run to get within 66-47, giving the home fans a reason to roar and stomp their feet. Mika Kurihara ended the run with her 3 with 1:15 left in the quarter.
Brazil never got closer than 16 the rest of the way, though fans stuck around and cheered to the final seconds.
Ramu Tokashiki, who plays for the WNBA's Seattle Storm, led Japan with 23.
China routs Sengal
China shot the ball so well against Senegal nothing helped the African nation, as it attempted to bounce back from a 65-point opening loss in women's basketball. Despite a small but enthusiastic section of stomping, clapping and singing fans, China rolled to 101-64 win.
Mengran Sun and Ting Shao scored 17 points each as China evened its record in group play.
China (1-1) scored the first 11 points of the game and looked ready to rout Senegal just like the Americans did Sunday. Senegal (0-2), still looking for its first Olympic victory, gave fans reason to cheer by pulling within 34-33 on a 3-pointer by Diodio Diouf with 4:41 left in the second quarter.
The Chinese went on a 9-0 run capped by a couple buckets by Nan Chen and led 47-38 at halftime. They led 73-53 at the end of the third and finished off the win after shooting 56 percent.