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China beat Belarus to reach semis
19 Aug 2008 11:08 BST

Chinese captain Miao Lijie hit 28 points to lead her team past Belarus 77-62 and into the Olympic semi-finals.

The victory sets up a semi-final tie against world champions Australia, who beat the Czech Republic 79-46.

The United States also had an easy win, 104-60 over South Korea with Sylvia Fowles scoring 26 points.

Russia will be the US's semi-final opponents after they came back from an 18-point first-quarter deficit to defeat Spain 84-65.

Tatiana Schchegoleva was Russia's hero, scoring 19 points.

Miao has now scored 117 points in her six outings for China and is the tournament's leading scorer.

Under Tom Maher, a former coach of Australia's Opals, China now have a chance of winning their first Olympic basketball medal since a silver in Barcelona in 1992.

Australia's victory over the Czechs was never in doubt. They took a 10-point lead in the first quarter and had doubled it midway through the second.

All 12 Opals scored points, led by 17 points from Lauren Jackson and 15 from Belinda Snell.

The only disappointment for the Opals came when forward Penny Taylor limped out of the game with an ankle sprain that may keep her out of Thursday's semi-final.

USA led Korea by just four points after 10 minutes, but then won the second quarter 26-9 to gain a stranglehold on a place in the last four.

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