Australia routs Turkey for bronze

ISTANBUL -- Marianna Tolo scored 21 points, Penny Taylor added 13 and Australia scored the first 17 points of the game to rout Turkey 74-44 on Sunday night and win the bronze medal at the women's world championship.

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," said Taylor. "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.

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.

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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