October 05, 2014

ISTANBUL (AP) Maya Moore scored 18 points and the U.S. beat Spain 77-64 to win its second straight gold medal at the women's world championship Sunday.

Lindsay Whalen added 12 points for the United States (6-0), which hasn't lost in a gold medal game in the world championship since 1983, when it was beaten by the Soviet Union 84-82. Except for a hiccup in 2006 when the Americans lost to Russia in the semifinals, they have won every Olympic and world championship game since 1996. If not for that upset in Brazil, the U.S. would have five straight world titles.

The Americans turned this game quickly into a laugher, jumping out to a 13-point lead in the first 4 1/2 minutes. Spain (5-1) could only get within seven the rest of the way.

Moore, who was chosen tournament MVP, was the key in that early burst, scoring 11 points during the opening 18-5 run. Her 3-pointers barely moved the net as the Americans blitzed Spain, which was making its first appearance in the championship game.

Behind strong offensive rebounding, the Spaniards cut it 24-17, but then Whalen took over. She had nine points during a 13-0 run by the Americans spanning the end of the first and start of the second quarter to make it a 20-point game. Whalen ended the first quarter with a spectacular drive that ended with a floater in the lane right before the buzzer. During the burst, Diana Taurasi threw a pinpoint pass to a streaking Seimone Augustus for another lay-in and the U.S. was off and running.

The Americans led 48-29 at the half. It was more of the same in the second half for the U.S., which led by 25 points before Spain closed the game with a 14-2 run.

Sancho Lyttle led Spain with 16 points.

In other games Sunday, Australia routed Turkey 74-44 to win the bronze medal. Canada topped China 61-53 to finish fifth and France beat Serbia 88-74 for seventh place.

AUSTRALIA 74, TURKEY 44

Marianna Tolo scored 21 points, Penny Taylor added 13 and Australia scored the first 17 points to rout Turkey for the bronze medal.

The Australians (5-1) were coming off a tough 12-point loss to the U.S. in the semifinals but quickly showed there would be no hangover from the defeat the night before.

''We wanted that medal and we knew the way to get it done was on defense,'' Taylor said. ''It means a lot, when we came into this tournament with the adversity we faced, we pulled together and played as a team. That first quarter defense was something to be proud of. We knew the crowd would be involved in the game and we knew we had to take them out of it.''

Taylor had six points during the game-opening run during which the host-nation missed its first 14 shots much to the chagrin of the crowd.

By the time Lara Sanders, who was known as LaToya Pringle at North Carolina, but since changed both her names because of marriage and passport issues, hit a turnaround jumper with 2:14 left in the first quarter Turkey was already out of it.

The Turkish team cut its deficit to 21-12, but then Australia scored 11 straight to make it a 20-point game. It only got worse from there for Turkey (4-2).

After the game the Turkish team honored Esmeral Tuncluer, who was retiring after the worlds. Her teammates threw her in the air and gave her a trophy.

Australia won a gold medal at the 2006 worlds, but failed to reach the medal stand in 2010 finishing a disappointing fifth. The Australians won the bronze at the London Olympics.

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CANADA 61, CHINA 53

Kim Gaucher scored 16 points and Miranda Ayim added 15 to help Canada beat China and finish fifth. It's Canada's best finish in the worlds since winning a bronze medal in 1986.

''It's gigantic to be a top five team in the world,'' said Canada coach Lisa Thomaidis. ''It certainly didn't think it was in the cards for us earlier this season. We improved so much each and every game. For us to finish fifth, it's better than I could have imagined. It's gigantic for this program.''

UConn freshman Kia Nurse had nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

''Every single time she gets a chance to play in a game with the senior national team she rises to the occasion,'' Thomaidis said. ''I'm really proud of her. She's played big minutes for us on the defensive end. Offensively that's going to come, she's playing against the best players in the world.''

Canada (4-3) slowly pulled away from China (3-4) getting its lead up to 10 in the fourth quarter.

Shao Ting scored 12 points and Wen Lu added 11 for China, which matched its sixth place finish at the 2002 worlds.

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FRANCE 88, SERBIA 74

Ana Maria Cata-Chitiga scored 16 points while Diandra Tchatchouang and Helena Ciak each added 15 to lead France over Serbia in the seventh-place game.

France (4-3) had much bigger aspirations coming into the tournament coming off a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. All hopes of any sort of medal were dashed when the French team lost to the Americans in the quarterfinals.

Instead they had to settle for seventh.

Ana Dabovic finished with 19 points to lead Serbia (3-4), which was playing in its first world championship.

Sandrine Gruda didn't play in the game to rest a few nagging injuries.

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