- Associated Press - Thursday, September 23, 2010

OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC (AP) - Lauren Jackson and Kristi Harrower each scored 13 points and Australia made its first eight shots en route to a 72-47 victory over Canada on Thursday at the women’s basketball world championship.

While the Aussies couldn’t miss early, Canada couldn’t make a shot. The Canadians missed their first nine tries before Teresa Gabriele hit a driving layup at the end of the first quarter that made it 20-12.

She followed it up with a 3-pointer to start the second quarter and got Canada within five. Jackson hit three free throws to restore the eight-point lead.

Australia, in Group A, led by 11 at the half before Kimberley Smith’s three-point play made it 41-35 midway through the third quarter. That’s as close as Canada would get as the Aussies closed the period with a 11-3 run.

The Aussies extended their lead to 24 midway through the fourth quarter, holding Canada without a point for the first 4 1/2 minutes.

Smith led Canada with 11 points.

Australia will face Belarus on Friday, while Canada will play China.

Group A

Belarus 68, China 57

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic _ Yelena Leuchanka scored 20 points and Belarus held China to just one field goal for 8 1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter to win the opening game of the group.

Leuchanka, who plays for the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA, added 12 rebounds for Belarus. The team held a 52-48 lead after the third quarter when Tatyana Troina hit a 3-pointer at the end of the period.

China cut its deficit to 52-51 on Chen Nan’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, but Belarus turned up its defense, going on a 14-2 run.

Natallia Anufryienka scored six straight points during the spurt as China missed nine of its 10 shots.

Miao Lijie finally ended the drought, hitting a layup with 58 seconds left.

Chen, Liu Dan and Miao each scored 13 points to lead China.

China had ousted Belarus from the 2008 Olympics in the quarterfinals.

Group B

United States 99, Greece 73

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic _ Angel McCoughtry and Swin Cash each scored 16 points to lead a balanced U.S. offense in a win over Greece.

Evanthia Maltsi scored 29 points for Greece, which was making its first appearance at the worlds.

The U.S. entered the tournament in an unfamiliar position of having finished third in 2006. The Americans haven’t gone consecutive worlds without winning a gold medal since 1971-75.

The U.S. will play Senegal on Friday, while Greece faces France.

France 83, Senegal 45

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic _ Clemence Beikes and Celine Dumerc each had 12 points to help France to an easy win over Senegal.

France had an 18-13 advantage with 2:57 left in the first quarter before holding Senegal scoreless over the next 9 minutes to take a 20-point lead on Nwal-Endene Miyem’s free throw with 4:04 left in the half. Diop finally ended the scoreless drought, hitting one of two free throws 14 seconds later.

Senegal made its first basket of the period with 1:17 left when Marie Sy scored on a jumper to lead 39-16. France led by 28 at the half.

Aya Traore scored 10 to lead Senegal, which qualified for the worlds by winning the African championship.

Group C

South Korea 61, Brazil 60

BRNO, Czech Republic _ Kim Ji Yoon’s layup with six seconds left lifted South Korea to an upset over Brazil in the first round of the group.

Trailing by one, she stole the inbound pass and went the length of the court to give Korea the lead. Brazil couldn’t get a shot off in the final six seconds when Erika De Souza turned the ball over as time expired.

Kim Kwe Ryong scored 14 points and Jung Sunmin and Kim Danbi added 13 points each for Korea.

Brazil led 60-57 on De Souza’s jumper with 1:25 left. Kwe Ryong hit a layup with 68 seconds left before the team’s traded missed shots to set up the frantic finish.

De Souza scored 15 points to lead Brazil and Alessandra Santos added 13.

South Korea will face Spain on Friday, while Brazil plays Mali.

Spain 80, Mali 36

BRNO, Czech Republic _ Amaya Valdemoro scored 18 points and Sancho Lyttle added 13 to help Spain rout Mali.

Mali was able to stay close for the first quarter behind a strong defensive effort to trail 15-7. Spain then took control of the game, outscoring Mali 50-16 over the next two periods. The Spaniards shot 52 percent from the field, including 11 of 19 on 3-pointers.

Djenebou Sissoko had 12 points to lead Mali, which qualified for the tournament by coming in second at the African championship.

Group D

Russia 86, Japan 63

BRNO, Czech Republic _ Irina Osipova scored 18 points and Maria Stepanova added 17 to lead Russia over Japan.

Russia only held a five-point halftime lead before outscoring Japan 27-15 in the third quarter. Stepanova had seven of her points in the period.

Yuko Oga led Japan with 23 points, while Ayumi Suzuki added 13.

The Russians will play the Czech Republic on Friday, while Japan faces Argentina.

Czech Republic 67, Argentina 53

BRNO, Czech Republic _ Eva Viteckova scored 16 points and Jana Vesela added 13 points and 14 rebounds to help the Czech Republic beat Argentina.

Vesela, who played for the WNBA champion Seattle Storm this past season, scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half. The host nation used a big third quarter to turn a five-point advantage into a 17-point lead.

Paula Reggiardo scored nine points to lead Argentina.