The United States remain on track for a record fifth straight Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball after routing Canada in the quarter-finals.
The Americans recorded their 39th straight Olympic win in emphatic style against their overmatched North American neighbours.
Geno Auriemma’s team put aside the first-quarter struggles they have been experiencing so far in these Games to dominate from start to finish, leading 19-8 at the end of the first period and 42-21 by half-time.
“Canada is a team that wants to play at their pace,” said United States guard Sue Bird.
“I thought for the first time in this Olympics we got out to a really aggressive start, we put our style of play on to them and made them play at our pace.
“That’s a big thing about Canada. I’ve played them numerous times, they’re a tough team that really make you work, but I think we made them work today.”
The United States dominated in every category, shooting 47% from the field to Canada’s 30%, and outrebounding them 48-31.
“They’re just playing at a level now, they’re so deep, they’re going to be very tough to beat,” said Canada coach Allison McNeill.
“I’m very proud of how we played, but we were undersized, under-everything, and not quite ready for that level yet.”
Diana Taurasi scored 15 points for the United States while Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles had 12 each, Parker adding seven rebounds.
Parker appeared to hurt her ankle, but said after the game she was fine.
“My ankle is good, I tweaked it a little bit but it’s okay,” the Los Angeles Sparks star said. “Nothing that will keep me out.”
Maya Moore and Angel McCoughtry also reached double figures with 11 points.
But it was the team’s defence that sparked the dominating performance as Canada struggled to make shots or get offensive rebounds.
“It was all in defence,” said McCoughtry. “When it works like that, great things happen.”
In their six games so far in London, the Americans have won by an average of 42.6 points per game, and McCoughtry believes they are capable of setting new standards even as they build on the legacies and active winning streaks of stories teams before them.
“Our team is special,” McCoughtry said. “It is all about the chemistry. It’s a group of stars that work together for the team. It’s like the Barcelona 1992 Dream Team for women.”