Former Tiger Fowles scores 18 in Team USA victory over China

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2008

BEIJING — Former LSU All-American center Sylvia Fowles scored 18 points, and Team USA used a 23-0 first-quarter run to put away host China, 108-63, at the 2008 Olympics on Monday night at Wukesong Arena.

The Americans (2-0) won their 27th consecutive Olympic contest and improved to 2-0 in preliminary Group B action. The U.S. shot an impressive 57 percent from the field, while holding China to 35 percent overall.

“I’m just having fun with these girls and being around them every day, 24-7,” Fowles said. “We all get along and I’m just loving the atmosphere right now. I’m loving the way we’re getting along and the way we do things.”

Team USA held a commanding 33-11 advantage after the first quarter ignited by a 23-0 run midway through the period. China claimed an 11-10 lead with 5:48 to play on a bucket in the lane, but it was the last time they would score in the quarter. The U.S. clamped down defensively and Tina Thompson scored 13 of her 27 points during the impressive run to put the game out of reach early in favor of the Americans.

Fowles, who managed a double-double in Sunday’s opener, scored six of her 18 points in the second quarter. She finished 7-of-11 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Fowles added eight boards, a block and a steal in 17 minutes of action.

Fowles credited her teammates for her outstanding performance in Team USA’s first two contests.

“I’m always surprised and I say that because I have the opportunity to soak up a lot from the veterans,” Fowles said. “I’m always surprised with the way I perform, the way I come out. But I feed off my teammates and if they come out with a lot of energy, I come out with a lot of energy. When you have that, there’s just no stopping.

Former LSU star and teammate Seimone Augustus had eight points and two rebounds off the bench. Augustus had a block and an assist in 22 minutes of playing time. Thompson led all scorers with 27 points, marking the fourth-best scoring output by a U.S. player in Olympic history.

In Monday’s other games, Spain (1-1) defeated New Zealand (1-1), 85-62; and Czech Republic (1-1) downed Mali (0-2), 81-47. Russia (2-0) remained undefeated against South Korea (1-1), 77-72; and Belarus (1-1) beat Latvia (0-2), 79-57. Australia (2-0) defeated Brazil (0-2), 80-65, in Monday’s nightcap.

The Americans next face Mali at 9:15 a.m. CDT on Wednesday. The contest will be televised live by USA Network and the NBC Olympic Basketball Channel.