BEIJING -- With President Bush and the first family looking on, the United States women's basketball team began its quest for a fourth straight gold medal with a rout of the Czech Republic. Diana Taurasi scored 13 of her 17 points in the first half to lead the U.S. to the 97-57 victory in the opener Saturday night.

The Americans got off to a slow start, trailing 13-2 giving up layup after layup to the feisty Czech team. Taurasi finally got the team rolling much to the pleasure of Bush, who was dressed in a blue shirt and USA cap. Taurasi's layup ignited a 20-4 run by the U.S. to close the first quarter. Sometimes you think things are going to be easy from the get-go and they're not," Taurasi said.

"We're playing against very good teams that have been together for a long time." The U.S. continued the run in the second quarter behind Cappie Pondexter, who scored seven of her 12 points in the period. Her 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Americans a 49-31 lead at halftime.

The Americans continued the onslaught in the third quarter using a 22-5 to put the game out of reach. The U.S. led 75-44 at the end of the third, sending the President, his wife Laura, and daughter Barbara home.

"I told him if the Czech's came back and the U.S. lost this game I'd come and find him," said USA Basketball president Val Ackerman, who sat with Bush and his family during the game. "He laughed and responded 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."