By Chris Gallagher
SAITAMA, Japan (Reuters) -Spain pulled away from South Korea with a 73-69 win, led by 28 points and 10 rebounds from Astou Ndour as women's basketball tipped off at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
South Korea, appearing in their first Olympics since 2008, gave the Rio silver medallists a tough time through three quarters with Spain leading by just a point going into the final frame.
But Spain seized the momentum at the start of the fourth quarter with a Silvia Dominguez three-pointer, a Ndour steal-and-dunk and an and-one from Ndour. The Spaniards led by as much as 13 and held on after South Korea narrowed the gap.
Spain out-rebounded the South Koreans 48-30 and grabbed 24 offensive boards. Spain's Laura Gil also posted a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Ndour, who plays for the WNBA's Chicago Sky, noting their defensive tenacity was key.
"We wanted to push them outside their comfort zone, so they were unable to take three-point shots."
For South Korea, Kang Leeseul scored a team-high 26 points, and Park Ji Su added 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
"From the fourth quarter we couldn't get our defence going and they scored a lot, so we feel bad about the way the fourth quarter started," said Park, who plays for the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces.
"But we still have two games left and we will keep fighting until the end."
In the second women's Group A game of the day, Serbia got past Canada 72-68 with help from their three-point shooting, scoring 8 from 17, while Canada shot only 21% from beyond the arc.
Canada's Nirra Fields top scored with 19 points while Sonja Vasic scored a team-high 16 for Serbia.
The teams will play again on Thursday, with Spain set to face Serbia and South Korea taking on Canada.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Karishma Singh and Christian Radnedge)