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Day One of the Olympic Games in London - Jul 29, 2012

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Becky Hammon
Group A
Turkey - Angola 72-50
Turkey won its Olympic debut in women's basketball and spoiled Angola's with a 72-50 victory over the African nation Saturday. Tugba Palazoglu (171-G-80) led Turkey with 13 points in the Group A matchup. American-born centre Quanitra Hollingsworth (196-C-88, college: VCU) and Saziye Ivegin (183-F-82) added 10 each. All 12 Turkey players played and all but two scored against overmatched Angola. Nassecela Mauricio (181-F-80, agency: Josep and Nicolas) led Angola with 11 points. Turkey shot 50 per cent from three-point range, making half of its 16 attempts. Angola did not score until 3:20 left in the first quarter after Turkey opened the contest with a 13-0 run. Turkey, runner-up at the European Championship, led by 10 at halftime and went on a 7-0 run to open a 42-25 lead in the third quarter. Hollingsworth, who starred at VCU, became naturalized to play for Turkey in May. She was first approached by the Turks to play for them in January. Courtesy of

USA - Croatia 81-56
Tina Charles (193-C-88, agency: LBM Management, college: Connecticut) scored 14 points and Angel McCoughtry (185-SF-86, college: Louisville) added 13 to lead the U.S. women's basketball team to a sloppy 81-56 victory over Croatia on Saturday in their Olympic opener. Coach Geno Auriemma had said he was hoping that the Americans could play a style of basketball that would be entertaining and help grow the game internationally. That didn't happen Saturday as the U.S. struggled for the first three quarters before pulling away to win their 34th consecutive Olympic contest. The victory was far different than the 54-point pounding the Americans gave Croatia a week earlier. Despite missing its first 14 shots, Croatia hung tough for the first 30 minutes before the Americans finally could pull away. The U.S., which has dominated its opponents en route to the last four gold medals, only led 53-49 early in the fourth quarter before a 16-0 run put the game out of reach. Jelena Ivezic (182-F/G-84) scored 22 points in Croatia and Marija Vrsaljko (6'6''-C-89) had 19. Courtesy of

China - Czech Republic 66-57
Ma Zengyu (183-F-84) scored 16 points to lead China to a 66-57 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday in their Group A opener, the first game of the women's Olympic basketball competition. China held double-digit leads in the first and second halves, but needed a 13-4 spurt to end the game to seal the victory. The gritty Czech Republic never led after scoring the first basket of the game, but battled back to tie the game twice - once at 24 and again at 53 with 7:34 to play. But China used a couple of missed shots by the Czechs to pull away down the stretch and surprise the 2010 World Championship silver medalists. Miao LiJie (178-F-81) had 12 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds in victory. Czech Republic got 14 pts and 6 board from Eva Viteckova (190-F-82). China plays Croatia on Monday, and the Czech Republic takes on Turkey. Courtesy of

Group B
Brazil - France 58-73
Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) scored 23 points Saturday to lead France to a 73-58 victory over Brazil on the opening day of the women's Olympic tournament. Dumerc, who also had five assist, made a jumper and then hit one of two free throws with 2:37 left to stretch France's lead to 15 and complete the decisive 11-0 run that secured France's victory in Group B. Erika De Souza (197-C-82, agency: Josep and Nicolas), who plays WNBA's Atlanta Dream, led Brazil with 17 points. The Brazilians are competing with an 11-player roster. Iziane Castro Marques was removed from the team on July 20 after violating a team rule. In a release on its website, the Brazil federation said Marques' infraction occurred off the court. Because Marques isn't injured and Brazil had already submitted its Olympic roster only a substitution for an injury could have been made. Courtesy of

Australia - United Kingdom 74-58
Carrying the Australian flag at the London Olympics opening ceremony obviously inspired Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81) with the Opals star dominating her team's opening win of the Games. The Australian captain showed no ill effects from her long night at the opening ceremony, starring in the first half against Britain to lead her team to a comfortable 74-58 victory. Jackson, playing in her fourth Olympics, scored 15 points in the opening half before she understandably tired with only three points in the second half. "I'm beat now," she said. "I just want to go to sleep. It's been an emotional 48 hours." Jackson found herself in everything as usual and also managed to get in a confrontation with Britain's centre Julie Page (188-PF-83, college: E.Washington) in the final quarter with both players receiving technical fouls after a clash underneath the basket. It had been a a dream start by Australia's two big guns with Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) winning the open tip-off and then receiving a lob pass which she converted plus one for the foul. Jackson's first shot was a three-pointer and that set the tone for her first half of dominance and she scored 15 of the Opals 39 points. Once again Cambage was struck with foul troubles. She had two inside the opening two minutes and then when she finally reappeared midway through the second got another one which was enough for coach Carrie Graf who benched the centre again. But the coach has backed the young gun to bounce back. "She definitely was nervous and that impacted her focus," Graf said. "One of her (pre-match) goals was to breathe. I think that indicates where she was with her emotions. "It's good for Liz to get that one under her belt. Now she can buckle down and play basketball. "She's young, but her emotional skills are still a work-in-progress." Veteran Suzy Batkovic was a more than adequate replacement, leading Australia's rebounds for the half and also scoring six points. The highlight early came from Jenna O'Hea (185-SF-87) who mistakenly scored a three-pointer when actually attempting a lob pass, much to the dismay of the home crowd. Britain, who are coached by former Aussie coach Tom Maher, showed some good physicality early but fell in a hole at the start of the second quarter going scoreless for more than five minutes. Johannah Leedham (180-SF-87, college: Franklin Pierce), who plays for the Bulleen Boomers in the WNBL, looked the most dangerous for the British and she helped to engineer a mini-comeback in the third quarter with the gap closing to 11 at one stage before the Australians steadied. It was a big ask for Britain given they were making their first appearance in the Olympics since 1948 and they only received a berth because they were the host nation. An encouraging sign for the Opals was the form of point guard Samantha Richards who was busy all game finishing with eight points while back-up power forward Abby Bishop (189-C-88) also showed promising signs. The Opals next opponent, France, produced an impressive last-quarter burst to get over Brazil in their opening game 73-58. Courtesy of

Canada - Russia 53-58
Becky Hammon (175-PG-77, agency: Josep and Nicolas, college: Colorado St.) delivered when Russia needed her most. The South Dakota native scored eight straight points down the stretch to help Russia rally from double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter Saturday to beat Canada 58-53 on the opening day of women's basketball at the Olympics. "You just keep playing and good things will happen," said Hammon, who plays for the San Antonio Silver Stars. "Defensively we got a lot better in the fourth quarter. We got some deflections and were able to run." Hammon is playing in her second Olympics for Russia. She became a Russian naturalized citizen before the Beijing Games. Because she hadn't played for the United States in any major FIBA-sanctioned international events, she is allowed to compete for Russia in the Olympics. Her patriotism was questioned in 2008 when she played with Russia, which won the bronze medal. Hammon's second Olympics isn't drawing as much attention. She said there's not "so much hoopla around me and everyone's kind of settled in. Other girls are playing for other teams, so it's not so much focused on me." The 5-foot-6 Hammon came up big for Russia against Canada. Trailing 50-40 with 6 minutes left, Russia closed the game with an 18-3 run led by Hammon. Anna Petrakova (189-PF-84) hit a 3-pointer and a lay-in to get the spurt started. Then Hammon took over. After struggling in the first three quarters, she got going. "We found good balance only at the end and we went to our leader," Russia coach Boris Sokolvskiy said. "Becky understood that her 3-point shot was not good tonight so she went under the basket and created many opportunities for us." Her lay-in with 2:35 left tied the game at 50. She followed 30 seconds later with a basket that gave Russia its first lead since early in the opening quarter. Hammon then scored another lay-in that made it 54-51 with 1:06 left. She capped her own run with another layup. "I couldn't throw it in the ocean if I was sitting in a boat," said Hammon, who missed all five of her three-point attempts. "I just kept working and believing eventually the shots would fall. My teammates kept telling me to keep shooting." Canada couldn't make another basket the rest of the way and couldn't stop Hammon. "She's a great player, she's a clutch player and picked us a part in the first half," said Kimberley Smith (186-F-84, college: Utah), who led Canada with 20 points. "In the second half she took them on her back and made some really amazing finishes on her layups." Canada returned to the Olympics for the first time in 12 years after earning the final spot in the women's field. Despite the loss, the team wasn't discouraged. "Honestly we knew we were good coming in," Smith said. "We're a team that's under the radar, but we don't feel like we can't compete here. We're confident we can come into any game and compete." Canada, which will play Britain on Monday, qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 2000 after finishing fifth in the pre-Olympic qualifier earlier this month. Canada's roster is full of former and current U.S. college players. Courtney Pilypaitis starred for Vermont while Lizanne Murphy played at Hofstra. Natalie Achonwa has played in the last two Final Fours for Notre Dame. Russia is missing star center Maria Stepanova. The 6-foot-8 star, who has played in the last four Olympics, tore her anterior cruciate ligament at the Euroleague final eight in late March. The Russians will face Brazil on Monday. "We're a work in progress," Hammon said, "we still have a lot of room for growth." Courtesy of   

Dawn Staley
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Men Women

Olympic Games Final Standings
 1. USA
 2. Spain
 3. Serbia
 4. France
 5. Australia
 6. Turkey
 7. Canada
 8. Japan
 9. Belarus
 10. China
 11. Brazil
 12. Senegal
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
 Elizabeth CAMBAGE
  Avg: 23.5
 1. Cambage, AUS23.5 
 2. Sanders, TUR22.0 
 3. Tokashiki, JPN17.0 
 4. Torrens, ESP16.5 
 5. Dantas, BRA16.4 
 6. Yilmaz, TUR16.3 
 7. Milovanovic, SRB16.0 
 8. Castro, BRA15.8 
 9. Petrovic, SRB15.8 
 10. Traore, SEN15.4 
Rebounds Per Game
 Clarissa DOS SANTOS
  Avg: 12.4
 1. Dos Santos, BRA12.4 
 2. Cambage, AUS10.3 
 3. Ndour, SEN9.2 
 4. Leuchanka, BLR9.0 
 5. Sanders, TUR8.2 
 6. Nicholls, ESP7.8 
 7. Dantas, BRA7.6 
 8. Veremeenko, BLR7.0 
 9. De Souza, BRA6.4 
 10. Gruda, FRA6.3 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 8.7
 1. Yoshida, JPN8.7 
 2. Taylor, AUS5.5 
 3. Pinto, BRA5.0 
 4. Harding, BLR5.0 
 5. Bird, ISR5.0 
 6. Palau, ESP4.5 
 7. Epoupa, FRA4.5 
 8. Mitchell, AUS4.5 
 9. Vardarli, TUR4.5 
 10. Dabovic, MNT4.2 
Steals Per Game
 Olivia EPOUPA
  Avg: 3.3
 1. Epoupa, FRA3.3 
 2. Yoshida, JPN2.5 
 3. Alben, TUR2.5 
 4. Moore, USA2.3 
 5. Sanders, TUR2.3 
 6. Traore, SEN2.2 
 7. Dabovic, SRB2.2 
 8. Dantas, BRA2.2 
 9. Dos Santos, BRA2.0 
 10. Taylor, AUS2.0 
Blocks Per Game
 Brittney GRINER
  Avg: 1.8
 1. Griner, USA1.8 
 2. Page, USA1.8 
 3. Ndour, SEN1.7 
 4. Sanders, TUR1.5 
 5. Veremeenko, BLR1.4 
 6. Cambage, AUS1.0 
 7. Tolo, AUS1.0 
 8. Diarra, SEN0.8 
 9. Snytsina, KAZ0.8 
 10. Toure, SEN0.8 
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