LONDON — Tina Charles scored 14 points and Angel McCoughtry added 13 to lead the U.S. women's basketball team to a sloppy 81-56 victory over Croatia on Saturday in their Olympic opener.
Coach Geno Auriemma had said he was hoping that the Americans could play a style of basketball that would be entertaining and help grow the game internationally. That didn't happen Saturday as the U.S. struggled for the first three quarters before pulling away to win their 34th consecutive Olympic contest.
The victory was far different than the 54-point pounding the Americans gave Croatia a week earlier.
Despite missing its first 14 shots, Croatia hung tough for the first 30 minutes before the Americans finally could pull away.
The U.S., which has dominated its opponents en route to the last four gold medals, only led 53-49 early in the fourth quarter before a 16-0 run put the game out of reach.