(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio).

Lara Sanders, known to fans of the North Carolina Tar Heels as LaToya Pringle, is making her Olympic debut very memorable. 

Sanders scored 36 points Tuesday in helping her adopted country Turkey keep its hopes alive of reaching the knockout round by beating Japan 76-62. Not only was her scoring performance the best in women's basketball in Rio, it ranks among the best in the Olympics. 

She now ranks fourth all-time, edging Lisa Leslie who scored 35 for the United States in 1996 against Japan and Keiko Namai of Japan who had 35 against the United States in 1976. Only Evladia Slavcheva of Bulgaria (39 in 1988), Miyako Otsuka of Japan (38 in 1976 against Canada) and Elena Baranova of Russia (36 in 1996 against Japan) have scored more in a single game.

Sanders is averaging 21.7 points through three games. 

The 6-foot-3 center was the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year, and she helped the Tar Heels to four straight ACC titles under coach Sylvia Hatchell. She played in two Final Fours with the Tar Heels before beign drafted 13th overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA. Sanders also has played for Minnesota, Washington and Los Angeles in the WNBA, though she has played extensively in Tureky. That's what helped her earn a trip to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Games.