Brittney Griner leads U.S. past early China test in Worlds opener


Brittney Griner tied a game high with 15 points, adding seven rebounds and a dunk in her first contest in a Team USA uniform in three years and leading the U.S. past China 87-56 in their FIBA World Championships opener in Istanbul on Saturday.

The U.S. was tested early by China and led 39-32 at the half. The U.S. thumped China by 48 points at the London Olympics en route to its fifth straight gold medal two years ago.

Griner started for UConn coach Geno Auriemma with four of Auriemma’s former college stars — Sue BirdDiana TaurasiMaya Moore and Tina Charles.

All of the 12 U.S. players scored, including rising UConn junior Breanna Stewart, at 20 the youngest member.

China shot 28 percent and saw the U.S. pull away in a 21-8 third quarter.

Griner joined Team USA in Turkey earlier this week, following its exhibition games, after suffering an eye injury in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals on Sept. 9. She wore glasses Saturday in her first career global championship game.

Griner played for Team USA on a European tour in 2011, when she was at Baylor, but withdrew from London Olympic team consideration in April 2012.

The U.S. plays Serbia on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET) in its second of three group-stage games. The gold-medal game is Oct. 5, with the winner clinching a berth in the 2016 Olympic tournament.

Sunday — Serbia, 2:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday — Angola, 2:30 p.m. ET
Friday, Oct. 3 — Quarterfinal
Saturday, Oct. 4 — Semifinal
Sunday, Oct. 5 — Final

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