U.S. deals Canada their first loss in women’s hoops

Taking on an unbeaten Canadian team, it looked like the U.S. may finally have found a worthy adversary at the Rio Olympics.

After one quarter Canada trailed by just two, 18-16, matching not only the U.S. intensity, but skill level. But, in the second quarter, the United States proved to be as dominant as they’ve come to be expected, holding Canada to just six points in the period. Maya Moore was the catalyst for the U.S. in the second, scoring eight points in the period. She finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

By the time both teams entered the locker rooms at half, the U.S. had extended their lead to 14 and led 36-22. The United States would go on to win their 45th consecutive Olympic game, beating Canada 81-51 to improve to 4-0 in Rio. 

Diana Taurasi continued her Olympic-long three-point storm, raining four triples in the game. After a quartet of games in Rio, Taurasi has 18 threes – only eight shy of the record for threes made in a single Olympic tournament. She had 12 points, tied with Moore for the game-high. 

Holding the U.S. to 81, Canada snapped the American streak of three straight 100-point games – an Olympic first in the women’s tournament.

After allowing 16 first-quarter points, the U.S. stifled the Canadian attack the rest of the way, allowing 35 points in the final three periods. None of the Canadians scored in double digits. Canada’s Kia Nurse, who plays for Geno Auriemma and UConn, was held to three points on one-for-nine shooting.

Through four games, the U.S. has outscored their opponents by an average of 40.25 points per game. 

Both teams will play their final preliminary game on Sunday, with the U.S. facing China and Canada taking on Spain. Canada and the U.S. have already clinched spots in the knockout round.