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Fowles sparks US women to 83-46 exhibition rout of China

By MARK MOSCHETTI

Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) It was the team's first game in almost two years. But Sylvia Fowles already could feel things clicking.

Fowles scored 14 of her 16 points during a 25-0 run and the United States rolled past China 83-46 on Thursday night in a women's basketball exhibition game.

Breanna Stewart, who plays in Seattle for the Storm, and Diana Taurasi added 14 points apiece for the U.S. The Americans were playing their first game since a 101-72 rout of Spain at the Rio Olympics that earned them a sixth consecutive gold medal. It also was the first game for the U.S. under head coach Dawn Staley, who took over the position in 2017.

The U.S. had a 13-point advantage at 17-4 with 3:14 left in the first quarter. But China stormed back, going on a 21-8 run spanning the first and second quarters. Ting Shao hit a 5-footer from the right of the lane to tie at 25-25 with 4:16 to go before halftime.

Back-to-back baskets by Fowles put the Americans back on top. They tacked on another 13 points to close the half, and Fowles then scored the first eight of the third quarter to make it 50-25.

"With me and Sue (Bird) and Stewie, we've had the opportunity to play with each other in previous years," Fowles said. "It's just the chemistry of knowing where we're going to be and how to get me the ball and things like that - and it worked."

"I think we still have a little ways to go, but I'm happy with the direction we're moving in," Fowles added.

Staley, whose South Carolina team won the 2017 NCAA championship and made this year's Elite Eight, was pleased with the team's 25-0 response after China had climbed back into the game.

"They started to play a little bit of zone, and we had to beat the zone down the floor," she said. "I thought we made some adjustments defensively that allowed us to turn them over and get some easy buckets to open the game up."

Shao and Zhenqui Pan had seven points apiece for China. The two teams will meet again in a group game of the FIBA World Cup on Sept. 23 in Tenerife, Spain.

"Team USA is No. 1 in the world, and we were very excited to play with them," coach Wei Zheng said. "On defense, we did all right. But on offense, we have lots of room to improve. We learned from this, and we'll go back to practice"

Updated April 27, 2018

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