U.S. routs Senegal; Australia is next

Published August 25, 2006

SAPPORO, Japan - Now comes the hard part.

The U.S. team closed a perfect week of group play Thursday night by routing Senegal 103-58. But with more demanding games ahead, one stumble and this young but talented team will be out of the hunt for the country's first World Championship title since 1994.

The Americans open the tournament's medal phase against Australia, the fourth-place finisher in Group C, on Sunday in Saitama.

"We came over here to win the gold," U.S. center Dwight Howard said. "The first game is Sunday, and we can start off on the right note."

The reward for winning Group D is substantial: The Americans won't have to face Argentina or Spain until the final. But there's a lot of basketball to be played before then.

"There will be some surprises," said Senegal's Makhtar N'Diaye, who played in college at Michigan and North Carolina. "Argentina and Spain can bring a lot of havoc."


Cheryl Ford pulled down a postseason-record 23 rebounds and scored 11 as the host Detroit Shock beat the Connecticut Sun 70-59 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

Williams interests Nets

Jay Williams' bid to resurrect his NBA career after a serious motorcycle crash three years ago has brought him to New Jersey, where he worked out for Nets officials and has been invited to training camp.

Kevin Bradbury, who represents Williams, said the Nets invited the former Duke star and No. 2 draft pick to training camp in October. The guard hasn't played in the NBA since his 2002-03 rookie season when he averaged 9.5 points for Chicago.