The U.S. women's basketball team "commandos" saved their long Olympic winning streak this morning by turning a close game against Turkey into an 89-58 rout.
Angel McCoughtry led the winners with 18 points while fellow bench player Lindsay Whalen added 14 points and matched her team mate with seven rebounds to help make it 36 Olympic victories in a row dating back to 1992.
"That second group comes in and brings energy," McCoughtry told reporters after the Group A game.
"When we sub we don't lose anything. When the other team subs they lose something. That's our secret weapon."
Coach Geno Auriemma, whose team improved to 3-0 in the preliminary round, agreed that the second wave of players often turns the tide.
"Lindsay is kind of the captain of those commandos that come in," Auriemma said. "They kind of change the tempo of the game and that's exactly what happened again tonight.
"She's a great leader and I think McCoughtry was the difference in the game."
Trailing by one point in the first quarter, the U.S. rebounded to lead by 15 at the intermission.
Turkey, who also entered the game with a 2-0 record, reduced the deficit to 50-45 in the third quarter before the Americans went on a 13-2 run to restore order.
"We just try to bring energy and get after it on defence and get good shots on offence and we did that again tonight," said Whalen.
Auriemma said Turkey were tough opponents.
"They are a very difficult team to match up against," he added. "The last time we played them their big players hurt us.
"Tonight I thought we handled their bigs well and their guards really hurt us.
"Their ball movement and the way they make you chase them around, it's not easy. But there was a lot of stretches there where our defence caught up to them and that's this team's quality, getting out in transition."
Turkish coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu said his high-energy team had fun.
"We know the U.S. is a great team. We tried to stay in the game by changing the defence but they play good defence too," he said.
"The U.S. is a defence-based team and they ended up finding easy baskets."
McCoughtry credited a massage for making her right for the game.
"I had a really good massage yesterday and I felt so loose and energetic," she said. "I'm definitely going to get another one tonight."
In the opening game of the night programme, Czech Republic beat Croatia 89-70 involving two teams who started with 0-2 records in Group A.
Czech coach Lubor Blazek was visibly upset later, saying an international basketball federation official had criticised him for taking a timeout with less then two seconds left on the clock.
"He said I was trying to humiliate our opponent but I was only trying to add points in case that was a tiebreaker for group placings," Blazek said through a translator.
"I'm sorry to say that this is the worst feeling I am having right now. This is something that is blurring the enjoyment of the victory."