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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Women Advance to Semis

SYDNEY, Australia -- Veteran guard Teresa Edwards took charge down the stretch as the United States recovered from a slow start to beat Slovakia 103-96 at the women's world basketball championships. Edwards scored 10 of her 17 points in the last six minutes of Thursday's game as the defending champion Americans sealed a semifinal spot by finishing on top of Group I in the quarterfinal round. Australia later advanced as the second team from the group with a 90-72 victory over Canada. Center Zheng Haixia scored 27 points as Olympic silver medalist China led throughout the second half and edged Cuba 86-84, finishing on top of Group II. Brazil advanced to its first world championship semifinal since 1971 after scoring a controversial 92-87 victory over European champion Spain. The United States has now won all six of its matches at the championships, but coach Tara VanDerveer was unhappy with her team's lack of intensity after Slovakia led by nine points in the first half and leveled at 88-88 with only 5:01 remaining. Andrea Lloyd broke the deadlock with a three-pointer with 4:23 left and two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwards then took charge. Guard Dawn Staley led the Americans with 18 points -- 16 of them in the first half -- while Edwards had 17. "We came out sluggish and I was upset with that," said VanDerveer. Renata Hirakova led Slovakia with 21 points and outstanding center Erika Burianova had 18. Spain led 87-86 until an intentional foul was called on Carolina Mujica with 20 seconds remaining. Janeth Arcain hit two free throws to put the Brazilians in front and added four more points to seal the victory. Guard Hortencia led Brazil with 25 points, while Arcain had 24, including 18 of 20 from the free-throw line. Guard Blanca Ares led Spain with 36 points against Brazil, including 10 for 10 from the line, while guard Ana Belen Alvaro had 14. "God must have been a Brazilian for this game," said relieved Brazilian player Paula. "We were only at 60-70 percent of our best." Spanish coach Manuel Coloma refused to comment on several disputed calls late in the game. "Whether we win, or whether we lose, I never speak about referees," he said. The United States plays Brazil in Saturday's semifinals, and China faces Australia.