USA - France 86-50 France coach Pierre Vincent said his women's basketball team was carried by magic forces into the gold medal game. To beat the USA on Saturday, France needed more than magic, much more. The U.S. captured its fifth consecutive gold medal with an 86-50 victory against France, extending its Olympic winning streak to 41 games. The last Olympics loss came in the 1992 Barcelona Games. The U.S. is now 58-3 since women's basketball was added to the Olympics program in 1976, an amazing run of dominance. That includes seven gold medals. The U.S. started slow against France, caught up a frenzied pace that yielded turnovers and sloppy play. But in the second quarter, the USA settled into its game, led by Candace Parker (193-C-86, college: Tennessee) who had 15 of game-high 21 points and nine of her 11 game-high rebounds in the first half. Sue Bird (175-PG-80, college: Connecticut) added 11 points and three assists. Diana Taurasi (183-SG-82, college: Connecticut) had nine points and six assists, and Maya Moore (183-SG-89, college: Connecticut) had six points and seven rebounds for the USA. All 12 American players scored. Just Sandrine Gruda (193-C-87) (12 points) reached double figures in scoring for France. The USA ensured it would win gold with a dominating third quarter, outscoring France 26-12 and taking a 63-37 lead into the final 10 minutes. The U.S. put full-court pressure on France, limiting clever point guard Celine Dumerc's ability to effectively run France's offense. The pressure forced France into 26% shooting from the field. Courtesy of www.usatoday.com
Australia - Russia 83-74 Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81) wouldn't let Australia leave the Olympics without a medal. The 6-foot-5 Jackson scored 21 of her 25 points in the second half to help Australia beat Russia 83-74 on Saturday and win the women's basketball bronze medal.It is the fifth straight Olympics that Australia has won a medal. The Australians had won the past three silver medals since winning the bronze in 1996. Russia cut a 38-30 halftime lead to three early in the third quarter before Australia scored 10 straight to take command. Suzy Batkovic-Brown (195-C-80) had a three-point play on a tip-in of a missed shot and Jackson had a putback that made it 48-35 with 5:21 left in the quarter. Australia extended the lead to 15 points on Jackson's basket with 7:21 left in the game before Russia rallied behind Becky Hammon (175-PG-77, agency: Josep and Nicolas, college: Colorado St.). The Russians cut their deficit to 76-71 with 1:21 left but that's as close as they could get. Hammon scored 17 of her 19 points in the second half to lead Russia, which finished without a medal for the first time in three Olympics. The Australians had the two most memorable moments in women's basketball at the Olympics. Belinda Snell hit a 50-foot heave to send a game into overtime and Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) had a dunk against Russia, which might have been the first in Olympic history. Now they have a bronze medal. They would have liked gold, or even silver, but the team were felt very good about the bronze. Australian point guard Kristi Harrower (166-PG-75) finished with 21 points and four assists. The 37-year was playing in her final Olympics. As she dribbled out the final seconds on the clock, her teammates gathered around her, hugging and congratulating her. A few minutes later, they lifted Harrower up on their shoulders so she could be saluted by the fans. Australia came into the London Games off a disappointing fifth place finish at the 2010 world championship. The Australians are missing star guard Penny Taylor, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the EuroLeague finals in April. They lost a pool game to France - the first time they were beaten by a team other than the U.S. in the Olympics since 1996. Winning a medal at this Olympics was something Jackson really wanted. The Australians challenged the U.S. in the semifinals, giving the Americans their first halftime deficit in Olympic play in 12 years. They just ran out of gas in the second half and fell by 13, leaving them playing for the bronze. Trailing 20-19 early in the second quarter, Australia took control behind Harrower and Batkovic. The two sparked a 19-8 run to take control. Batkovic got the burst started with a jumper and had eight points during the spurt. Hammon scored her first basket of the game just before the halftime buzzer to get Russia within eight at the half. Hammon, 35, 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. The 5-foot-6 South Dakota native helped Russia win the bronze medal at the Beijing Games. This is the third straight Olympics that Russia has reached the semifinals, but the team had to settle for the bronze in Athens - falling to the U.S. in 2004 and 2008. Even though she didn't win a medal this Olympics, she had a less stressful experience. Her patriotism was questioned in 2008 when she played with Russia, which won the bronze medal. Russia had won the bronze medal in the past two Olympics and hasn't won a gold medal since 1992 when the country was known as the Unified Team. *Courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com
USA, Australia, France and Russia advance to Semifinals in London - Aug 8, 2012
Australia - China 75-60 Australia handed 75-60 loss to China and advanced to the Semifinals of 2012 Olympic Games in London. There, Australia will meet defending champion USA. Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81), who finished with 12 points, hit a jumper with 3:46 remaining in the game that gave her 536 points - one more than former Brazil star Janeth Arcain. The four-time Olympian's record-breaking basket gave Australia a comfortable 13-point lead. Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) scored 17 points for the Australians and Suzy Batkovic-Brown (195-C-80) added 10 points, plus 9 rebounds. Australia and the United States have met in three straight Olympic finals, with the Americans winning the gold each time. Australia failed to win its group and will now have to play the favored Americans one round earlier. The teams met in the semifinals at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where the U.S. won the first its four consecutive gold medals. Ma Zengyu (183-F-84) led China with 15 points. Miao LiJie (178-F-81) scored 13 points and Chen Xiaoli (193-F-82) stopped to 9 pts. Quarters: 22-16, 13-20, 20-16, 20-8. Semifinals are scheduled for Thursday.
USA - Canada 91-48 USA advanced to the Semifinals of 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Americans turned up the defensive pressure to beat Canada with huge 91-48. Diana Taurasi (183-SG-82, college: Connecticut) led the winners with 15 points and Candace Parker (193-C-86, college: Tennessee) added 12 points, plus 7 rebounds. Sylvia Fowles (198-C-85, college: LSU) also scored 12 points in this meeting. At the other side, Kimberley Smith (186-F-84, college: Utah) responded with 13 points and 6 rebounds in defeat. Chelsea Aubry (188-F-84, college: Nebraska) was their second scorer with 10 pts and Courtnay Pilypaitis (184-G-88, college: Vermont) stopped to 6. USA took control on its rival from he beginning and never looked back. Quarters: 19-8, 23-13, 26-10, 23-17. The Americans held Canada to the fewest points the U.S. has given up in an Olympic quarterfinals since beating Slovakia 58-43 in 2000. The U.S. hasn't lost to Canada since playing in the 1975 world championship tournament. Also, the victory was the 39th straight for the Americans in Olympic play and came 20 years to the day after the win that started the streak - a 88-74 victory over Cuba for the bronze medal in the 1992 Barcelona Games. Semifinals are scheduled for Thursday.
Turkey - Russia 63-66 Russia eliminated Turkey today in the Olympic Games Quarterfinals. This is the third straight Olympics Semis for Russia. The Russians have had to settle for the bronze medal in 2004 and 2008 - falling to the U.S. each time. After finishing third in their pool, the Russians avoided a potential matchup with the Americans until the gold medal game - if both teams advance. Becky Hammon (175-PG-77, agency: Josep and Nicolas, college: Colorado St.) stepped up for Russia with 19 points and 5 assists. Anna Petrakova (189-PF-84) (7 rebs), Eugeniya Belyakova (182-SF-86) (5 rebs) and Natalia Vieru helped with 10 points each. In the loosing squad, Nevriye Yilmaz (194-C-80) was better than the others with 22 points and 5 rebounds. Birsel Vardarli (6 as) and Quanitra Hollingsworth (196-C-88, college: VCU) netted 12 points each. With the game tied at 62, Becky Hammon got the ball and drove down the lane, scoring with 13 seconds left and drawing the foul. Hammon missed the free throw and Quanitra Hollingsworth got the rebound. Hollingsworth, who became a naturalized Turkish citizen in May, was fouled and made one of two free throws to make it a 1-point game. The Russians couldn't put the game away, hitting only two of its four free throws in the final 12 seconds giving Turkey one last chance, but Birsel Vardarli's 3-pointer from the wing bounced off the rim. Quarters: 16-23, 12-11, 23-17, 12-15. Russia will meet France or Czech Republic in the Semifinals. Both Semifinals games will be played on Thursday. The other pair is USA - Australia.
France - Czech Republic 71-68 Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) scored 23 points and Endene Miyem scored four points down the stretch to send France to the semifinals of the women's Olympic basketball tournament with a 71-68 win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Dumerc hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 65 seconds left to make it 67-65, Miyem grabbed an offensive rebound and scored inside to make it 69-65 with 29 seconds remaining, then sank two free throws to seal the win. France reached its first Olympic women's semifinal after overcoming a 13-point deficit. The French have continued to find ways to win and are 6-0 in the tournament. They beat Australia and Britain in overtime and they topped Canada by just four points in pool play. Eva Viteckova (190-F-82) scored 13 of her 17 points in the third quarter, when the Czech Republic led by 13. But Dumerc led the French comeback for a semifinal matchup against Russia on Thursday. Courtesy of www.greenfieldreporter.com
2012 Olympics, Day 5: Quarterfinals are set in London - Aug 5, 2012
Croatia - Turkey 65-70 Turkey celebrated fourth victory at 2012 Olympics in London. They outplayed Croatia today 70-65 for almost perfect 4-1 record in Group A. That is enough for the second place and ticket for the Quarterfinals, where Turkey will play against Russia. Croatia finished its first participation at the Olympics with 1-4 record (No.5). They failed to reach the next stage. Quanitra Hollingsworth (196-C-88, college: VCU) was the leading player in Turkey with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Esmeral Tuncluer (176-G-80) (5 as) and Bahar Caglar (186-F-88) scored 11 points each. Ana Lelas (183-G/F-83) answered with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in defeat. Andja Jelavic (172-G-80) and Jelena Ivezic (182-F/G-84) posted 10 points each. Croatia opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 scoring run, but then the American-born center Quanitra Hollingsworth took over. After scoring to end Croatias burst, she also hit another basket after Iva Ciglars 3-pointer had brought Croatia within two with 2:38 left. Quarters: 18-24, 15-7, 25-13, 12-21. Turkey will take a rest on Monday.
Angola - Czech Republic 47-82 Czech Republic booked a spot for the Quarterfinals of 2012 Olympic Games in London. They destroyed Angola today 82-47 taking the fourth place in Group A with 2-3 record. In the QFinals Czech Republic will meet top-ranked team of Group B - France. Angola finished its first Olympics winless (0-5). Eva Viteckova (190-F-82) drained all of her 19 points in the first half and paced her country to 15-point lead. She made all eight of her shots - including three 3-pointers. The Czechs poured it on in the second half behind Michaela Zrustova (184-F-87), who scored all 20 of her points after the break. Hana Horakova (182-F/G-79) was third scorer in victory with 7 points (9 rebs). Angola got 18 points and 5 rebounds from Nassecela Mauricio (181-F-80, agency: Josep and Nicolas), while Nadir Manuel (185-PF-86) collected 10 points and 12 boards. Luisa Tomas (192-C-83) added 9 points in this defeat. Quarterfinals are scheduled for Tuesday.
China - USA 66-114 The Americans were at it again, putting up record numbers in another impressive offensive performance at the Olympic basketball tournament. This time it was the U.S. women's team. Just days after the U.S. men shattered the Olympic record for points in a game, the women tied their Olympic mark in a 114-66 rout of China on Sunday. Diana Taurasi (183-SG-82, college: Connecticut) (6'0''-SG-82, college: Connecticut) scored 22 as the women matched the 114 points they scored against Spain in 1992, but fell well short of the women's Olympic mark of 128 points set by Brazil in 2004. (Courtesy of The Associated Press, via www.chron.com) USA finished Preliminary Round in London with perfect 5-0. Of course, USA is the winner of Group A and will meet Canada in the Quarterfinals. China ended as No.3 in this pool with 2-3 record and also advanced to the next stage. Their rival will be Australia. USA took control on China in the second period and never looked back after that. Quarters: 31-28, 30-8, 33-12, 20-18. As mentioned above, Taurasi scored 22 points in victory and Angel McCoughtry (6'1''-SF-86, college: Louisville) followed her with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Maya Moore (6'0''-SG-89, college: Connecticut) (7 rebs) and Tina Charles (6'4''-C-88, agency: LBM Management, college: Connecticut) (5 rebs) netted 12 points each. In China, Chen Nan (6'5''-C-83) and Song XiaoYun (5'9''-PG-83) posted 16 and 15 points respectively. Ma Zengyu (6'0''-F-84) delivered 13 pts. Quarterfinals are scheduled for Tuesday.
United Kingdom - Brazil 66-78 Brazil avoided last place in Group B of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. They handed 78-66 loss to United Kingdom to finish as the fifth ranked team in this pool. UK closes the standings with 0-5. Both teams failed to reach the Quarterfinals and already said goodbye to this edition of the Olympics. Brazil was up by 3 at the halftime and made 25-17 after the breather. That was too much for UK. Clarissa Dos Santos (187-C-88) stepped up for Brazil with double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Erika De Souza (197-C-82, agency: Josep and Nicolas) also was great adding 16 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while Adriana Pinto (170-SG-78) helped with 15 points and 12 assists. The hosts got 15 points and 11 rebounds from Natalie Stafford (175-SG-76). Johannah Leedham (180-SF-87, college: Franklin Pierce) (6 rebs) and Julie Page (188-PF-83, college: E.Washington) (5 rebs) netted 12 and 11 points respectively. Tournament continues on Tuesday, but without Brazil and UK.
Canada - Australia 63-72 Australia celebrated 72-63 victory against Canada in the last day of the Preliminary Round at 2012 Olympics in London. Thanks to this win Australia finished as the second ranked team of Group B with 4-1 record. Canada is No.4 in this pool with 2-3 and both teams advanced to the Quarterfinals. There, Australia will play against China, while Canada's rival will be powerful USA. Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) had 15 points in the first half as Australia led 35-22 at halftime after scoring the first 12 points of the game. Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81) hit six straight free throws, grabbed two key defensive rebounds and a steal in the last minute after Canada cut the Australians' lead to three on Courtney Pilypaitis' 3-pointer with 1:11 to play. Quarters: 24-10, 11-12, 12-20, 25-21. Cambage top-scored in victory with 19 points and Jackson added 18 pts, plus 9 rebounds. Belinda Snell (181-SF-81) helped her country with 12 points. In the loosing squad, Kimberley Smith (186-F-84, college: Utah) was better than the others with 17 points. Shona Thorburn (178-G-82, college: Utah) (5 as) and Teresa Gabriele (165-PG-79) stopped to 9 points each. All teams will take a rest on Monday and will play their Quarterfinals games on Tuesday.
France - Russia 65-54 France won the Gold at U18 EuroBasket in Bucharest. They failed in the Final against Belgium a year ago, but tonight France outsmarted Russia 65-61 taking the first place at this event. Russia had 44-48 lead at the beginning of the last quarter, but France created impressive 10-2 run after that for 54-50 with 6:10 remaining in the game. Mostly owing to Olivia Epoupa (168-PG-94), France jumped to 62-56 with 3 minutes left. All what Russia managed to do for rest of the way was minus 3 after triple by Byazrova, but Lidija Turcinovic (179-SG-94) answered with one free throw setting the score to the final 65-61. Quarters: 14-8, 11-18, 19-20, 21-15. Epoupa was a key player in victory with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. She reached valuation 25 and was MVP of this meeting. Turcinovic (5 rebs) and Mousdandy Djaldi-Tabdi (184-F-95) helped France with 9 points each. In Russia, Alexandra Marchenkova (183-PF-94) shined with 20 points and 7 rebounds, and Julia Gladkova (183-F-94) had 11 pts, plus 5 rebs. Polina Fedorova (188-PF-95) had 10 points (5 rebs) and was their last player with double digits in scoring. Russia won the Silver in Bucharest, while the Bronze belongs to Serbia.
Day 4 of the Olympic Games in London - Aug 4, 2012
Czech Republic - USA 61-88 Tina Charles (193-C-88, agency: LBM Management, college: Connecticut) is leading the way inside, to where the big girls play. With 6-foot-5 center Sylvia Fowles (198-C-85, college: LSU) resting a sore left foot, Charles has become the U.S. womens basketball teams leading rebounder in her first Olympics. She has always been an aggressive player, but now seems even more determined. And her U.S. teammates are following her lead. The Americans used a team effort to dominate the boards in an 88-61 victory over the Czech Republic on Friday. 'We did a good job offensive rebounding when we werent making shots', said center Candace Parker (193-C-86, college: Tennessee). Weve got to continue to do that. Especially since the U.S. might have a tougher time Sunday against China, which is led by 6-6 center Chen Nan. The Americans, however, have run past their opponents, winning by huge margins each time they step on the floor. So its difficult to find any real flaws in their performance. But like all coaches, Geno Auriemma has. Rebounding. And his team has responded. The 6-foot-4 Charles finished with a game-high 15 boards Friday and the U.S. outrebounded the Czechs 62-39, including 27 on the offensive end. Coach definitely put an emphasis of getting on the offensive boards, said Charles, who grabbed 15 rebounds and had 16 points. We got to keep doing that. Diana Taurasi (6'0''-SG-82, college: Connecticut) scored 18 points to lead the Americans (4-0), who have now won 37 straight games in the Olympics. The U.S. started slow but looked fresh after its first day off since getting together on July 14 to start training for the London Games. The Czechs jumped out to a quick lead scoring the first 10 points of the game in just two minutes. It was the Americans biggest deficit in the Olympics since they trailed the Czechs 13-2 in the opener of the 2008 Beijing Games. They went on to win that game by 40 points. We had a little bit of a tough time getting shots to go in and the Czech Republic team did a great job of hitting their threes, Maya Moore (183-SG-89, college: Connecticut) said of the Americans slow start. We just try to stay aggressive. Its about when the other team hits you, you gotta get back up and figure out a way to overcome it. And thats what we did. The Czech Republic also played the U.S. tight for a half in the 2010 world championship gold medal game, trailing by five at the break. The U.S. won that contest by 20. The Czechs led 26-24 after the first quarter after hitting six of their first 10 3-point attempts. They didnt hit another 3-pointer the rest of the game, missing their final 11 attempts. While the Czechs went cold, the Americans heated up behind Charles and Catchings. Trailing 30-26, the Americans scored 22 of the next 28 points to go up 48-36 with 2:18 left in the half. Catchings and Charles each had six points during the burst. Catchings layup off a fullcourt pass from Moore gave the U.S. a 31-30 lead. After a Czech basket, Charles scored six straight and the U.S. never trailed again. The Americans led 48-38 at the half and put the game away with a 20-3 run to start the second half. Taurasi hit two 3-pointers during the spurt. The Czechs couldnt get within 20 points of the U.S. the rest of the way. Throughout the whole game I think our defensive intensity picked up, Catchings said. The third quarter was probably one of the best third quarters weve had since weve been playing together. Now weve just got it going in the first half, start the game off that way. Michaela Zrustova (184-F-87) scored 15 points to lead the Czech Republic. Very tough game, said Eva Viteckova (6'3''-F-82), who finished with 12 points. Our main problems was the rebounding, they had 22 more rebounds than us (actually 23). They also have a very good fast break. Its always very difficult to play against the Americans, we know we can never be winners against them, they are so much better. But we started very well and maybe they were surprised by our performances. They can be beaten, if the other team has a very good day and they (the U.S.) has a very bad day. While the U.S. has already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals, the Czechs (1-2) still are trying to advance. They made a surprising run to the silver medal at the worlds, knocking off defending champion Australia in the quarterfinals before losing to the U.S. in the title game. The Czech Republic was definitely buoyed in that tournament by its home crowd that included President Vaclav Klaus for the championship game. The Americans will close out pool play Sunday against China, which was routed by Turkey 82-55. Also Friday, Australias Liz Cambage had the play of the day maybe of the Olympic womens basketball tournament when she dunked in the Aussies 70-66 win over Russia. Canada advanced to the quarterfinals with a 79-73 victory over Brazil. Croatia routed Angola 75-56; and France edged Britain 80-77 in overtime. Courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com
Turkey - China 82-55 Nevriye Yilmaz (194-C-80) scored 16 points to help Turkey advance to the quarterfinals of the womens Olympic basketball tournament with an 82-55 victory over China on Friday. Isil Alben (170-G-86) nailed two 3-pointers and Turkey ended the first quarter with a 12-0 run to take a 26-13 lead. Turkey stretched its lead to 19 but then could not score for nearly seven minutes before Birsel Vardari hit a 3-pointer, but the Turks still led 39-27 at halftime. But China, which has already qualified for the quarterfinals, could not mount a serious second-half challenge and fell to 3-1 in the tournament. American-born Quanitra Hollingsworth (196-C-88, college: VCU) added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Turkey (3-1). Chen Nan had 19 points for China. Courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com
Angola - Croatia 56-75 Croatia registered its first win ever at the Olympic Games. They outplayed Angola 75-56 for 1-2 record in Group A. The win kept alive Croatia's chances to advance to the quarterfinals. At the other side, Angola faced with third straight loss with no chance to advance. Ana Lelas (183-G/F-83) was a key player in victory with 23 points and 6 rebounds. She made 5 of 7 attempts from behind the arc. Sandra Mandir had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while Marija Vrsaljko (198-C-89) helped with 10 points, plus 8 boards. In defeat, Luisa Tomas (192-C-83) responded with 15 points and 8 rebs. Nadir Manuel and Nassecela Mauricio (8 rebs) netted 14 and 12 points respectively. Croatia was up by 9 at the halftime and after that made crucial 12-0 run at the beginning of third quarter. Angola could only get within 13 the rest of the way. It is important to mention that African countries won only one of their 27 games in the Olympics since Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) first qualified in the 1996 Atlanta Games. The tournament continues on Sunday, when Croatia will meet Turkey. Angola's next rival is Czech Republic.
France - United Kingdom 80-77 OT Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) hit a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left in overtime to give France an 80-77 victory over Britain and deny the hosts their first victory in women's Olympic basketball. Dumerc, who finished with 14 points, also sent the game into overtime by hitting a 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining in regulation. Julie Page (188-PF-83, college: E.Washington) made one of two free throws to tie the game at 77-77 in OT with 10 seconds on the clock setting up a potential second overtime period. But Dumerc was able to create some space, shaking off two defenders, to hit the game-winner. Sandrine Gruda (193-C-87) and Edwige Lawson-Wade (166-PG-79) led France with 16 points each, while Johannah Leedham (180-SF-87, college: Franklin Pierce) had 29 for Britain (0-4). France is unbeaten in four games and has qualified for the quarterfinals. Courtesy of http://summergames.ap.org
Brazil - Canada 73-79 It will go down as the most significant Canadian women's basketball victory in decades. With a 79-73 triumph over Brazil Friday morning, Canada has qualified for the Olympic Games quarter-finals for the first time ever. After seeing a 14-point disappear during a dreadful third quarter, Canada got things under control in a nervous fourth to improve its record to 2-2, and is guaranteed a berth in the elimination quarter-finals. Canada still faces Australia to finish the preliminary round and wont know for sure who theyll play in the quarter-finals until Sunday. The most likely scenario is a date with the powerful United States. Canada looked to be in control, building a 14-point lead early in the third quarter before a series of turnovers caused by a Brazil press turned the game. Brazil took its first lead early in the fourth before Canada settled down. Courtnay Pilypaitis (184-G-88, college: Vermont) of Ottawa and Hamiltons Shona Thorburn (178-G-82, college: Utah) hit back-to-back three-pointers with about five minutes to go to give Canada a seven-point lead it nursed home. Pilypaitis and Kimberley Smith (186-F-84, college: Utah) of Mission, B.C., had 14 points each for Canada. Courtesy of www.thestar.com
Russia - Australia 66-70 Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) made the play of the day - maybe of the Olympic women's basketball tournament. The 6-foot-8 Australian dunked. FIBA couldn't confirm if the 20-year Cambage was the first woman to dunk in an Olympic game. But she and her teammates knew she had done something special Friday in Australia's 70-66 victory over Russia. "That's the first time I've seen it in the Olympics,'' said Australia forward Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81), playing in her fourth Olympics. "Even in the WNBA, you see some girls do it, on a fast break but she had the zone around her, she had people around her. She made it look so easy. "I wish I could do that.'' Cambage caught the ball at the top of the lane from teammate Kristi Harrower with 6:14 left in the third quarter, took one dribble drove to the basket for the one-handed dunk. Cambage said she never has dunked before in a game and rarely tries to in practice. Still, she was happy to provide what's sure to be a highlight of the tournament. "It's good to finally do it and get everyone off my back about it,'' she said. "I was wide open and I felt it and just did it. It was an out of body experience. I wasn't thinking about it.'' Australian coach Carrie Graf has encouraged her young star to dunk in warmups to gain more confidence. She was proud to see her do it in the flow of the game. "To have someone dunk at the Olympics, and a rising star of the women's world game is huge,'' Graf said. "It's one of the many things that will continue to put women's basketball on the map as a global game. That's what it does. "It's a historic, iconic moment in women's sport.'' The dunk in the middle of a 12-0 run that gave Australia (3-1) a 44-33 lead - its biggest of the game. Russia (3-1) battled back to close within 61-58 with 4:22 left in the game on Becky Hammon's 3-pointer. Australia responded extending its lead back up to 68-62 on Jenna O'Hea's 3-pointer with 1:27 left. Hammon's basket with 50 seconds left made it 68-66 before Cambage hit two free throws to seal the victory. Cambage finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Australia. But it was her dunk that was the highlight of the game. "Cambage posterizing people is good for women's basketball,'' Hammon said. "Making plays like that, memorable moments, people aren't going to remember who won or lost that game. "They'll remember that dunk.'' Because it didn't happen on a breakaway and Cambage did it with such ease, there was not much reaction from the crowd. But the Australian bench erupted after the play and Cambage had a big smile as she ran back on defense. "I never do it, but everyone wants me to do it, it's the one thing I'm really shy about,'' Cambage said. "I'm usually not shy about anything but when it comes to dunking I'm a bit shy.'' Cambage was the second pick by the Tulsa Shock in the 2011 WNBA draft. She missed the first part of the WNBA season to train with Australia. Australia held a 32-30 halftime advantage despite going without a basket for the final 5:18 of the second quarter. The Aussies led 30-23 after Batkovic's three-point play before Russia scored seven straight to tie it at 30. Batkovic, who scored the final seven points of the half for the Aussie, hit two free throws with 3 seconds left to cap the scoring. Irina Osipova (196-C-81) scored 15 points for Russia, which closes out its pool play on Sunday against France; Australia faces Canada. "it's a very big - a massive win - every win is a good win,'' Cambage said. "If we drop another game we could end up third or fourth. I got my fingers crossed that Russia will beat France.'' Courtesy of http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com
Day 3 of the Olympic Games in London: USA, China, Russia and France book Quarterfinals tickets - Aug 2, 2012
USA - Turkey 89-58 Angel McCoughtry (185-SF-86, college: Louisville) (6'1''-SF-86, college: Louisville) and the U.S. Olympic women's team's depth wore down Turkey. McCoughtry scored 18 points and Tina Charles (6'4''-C-88, agency: LBM Management, college: Connecticut) added 16 to help the Americans beat the Turkey 89-58 Wednesday night. Turkey entered the game undefeated and were expected to give the Americans their toughest test in the Olympics so far. The Turks had looked impressive in their first Olympic appearance and said they weren't intimidated by the top-ranked team in the world despite the U.S. winning its first two games by an average of 38.5 points. The Turks stayed close for a while. They had an early one-point lead in the first quarter before McCoughtry helped the Americans build a 15-point advantage by the half. Turkey didn't waiver, coming within 50-45 in the third quarter before McCoughtry and the reserves put the game away. Her three-point play started a 13-2 run. On the Americans' next possession she missed a 3-pointer, but hustled for the offensive rebound and found Maya Moore for an easy lay-in. Lindsay Whalen (5'9''-PG-82, college: Minnesota) then took over, scoring six of the final eight points during the burst to make it 63-47 after three quarters much to the delight of LeBron James, who was in attendance along with some of the other men's Olympic team. The Turks could get no closer in the fourth quarter. Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth (6'5''-C-88, college: VCU) led Turkey (2-1) with 11 points. She was born in American, but became a naturalized to play for Turkey in May. Birsel Vardarli (5'9''-G-84) also had 11 points for the Turks. Coach Geno Auriemma has said the U.S.' depth would be key to its success. The Americans played without center Sylvia Fowles for the second straight game because she was resting a sore left foot. She also sat out the team's 52-point win over Angola on Monday night. The Turks have played well in their first Olympics with wins over Angola and the Czech Republic. They had hung with the Americans for three quarters of an exhibition game in Istanbul last month before the U.S. pulled away to a 19-point victory. They had a tougher time on Wednesday against the U.S., which now has won its last 36 games in the Olympics and is attempting to win a fifth consecutive gold medal. Next up for the U.S. on Friday is the Czech Republic, which beat Croatia 89-70 for its first win. After playing, practicing or traveling for the last 18 days the Americans will take Thursday off. The Americans close out pool play Sunday against China, which is also 3-0 after routing Angola 76-52. China has already clinched a spot in the quarterfinal. Also Wednesday, France edged Canada 64-60 to advance to the next round. Russia remained unbeaten with a 67-61 win over Britain. The Russians also advanced to the quarterfinals. Australia rebounded from its first loss to a non-American team in the Olympics since 1996 with a 67-61 victory over Brazil. *Courtesy of ESPN
Croatia - Czech Republic 70-89 Both teams were winless after two days of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Czech Republic exploded in the last ten minutes of the game against Croatia to register 89-70 victory for 1-2 score in Group A. Czech Republic is now step closer to the Quarterfinals, while Croatia fell to 0-3. Katerina Elhotova (180-SG-89) top-scored in victory with 20 points, Ilona Burgrova (196-C-84, college: S.Carolina) had 19 and Eva Viteckova (190-F-82) netted 18 pts. Jana Vesela (194-PF-83) helped with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, but Hana Horakova (182-F/G-79) was the MVP of this game with valuation 26 (11 pts, 10 rebs, 6 as). In Croatia, Sandra Mandir (177-G-77) (6 rebs) and Ana Lelas (183-G/F-83) (5 rebs) posted 20 and 15 points respectively. Jelena Ivezic (182-F/G-84) stopped to 9 pts and 5 boards. Croatia made 10-0 run at the beginning of the game, but Czech Republic rallied to take a 45-39 halftime lead en route to their first win of the London Games. Croatia responded after the breather and managed to take 60-56 lead late in the third quarter. Hana Horakova answered for the Czech Republic with a triple that tied the game to 60-60 at the beginning of Q4. Burgrova connected two baskets after that and later Czech Republic completed crucial 17-4 run. They were up by 19 in the finish. Czech Republic will take on powerful USA on Friday. Croatia will meet also winless Angola.
China - Angola 76-52 China is the first team who officially booked a ticket for the Quarterfinals at 2012 Olympic Games in London. They defeated Angola today for 3-0 record in Group A. Ma Zengyu (183-F-84) led the winners with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Chen Nan (195-C-83) also scored 15 points, while Gao Song (190-PF-92) added 8 points and 9 boards. Sonia Guadalupe (188-PF-85) delivered 12 points for Angola, who dropped to 0-3. Luisa Tomas (192-C-83) (9 rebs) and Felizarda Jorge (172-SG-85) posted 11 and 10 points respectively. China led by two at the half and scored 22 of the first 26 points in the third quarter to blow the game open. Ma scored five straight with a three-point play and layup that made it 48-33 with 3:58 left in the period. China cruised the rest of the way. Angola hung tough with China in an exciting first half that saw 11 lead changes. Quarters: 15-13, 18-18, 24-6, 19-15. On Friday, China will play against also undefeated USA and winner will most likely end as No.1 in Group A. Angola will meet Croatia.
Australia - Brazil 67-61 Australia celebrated its second win at 2012 Olympic Games in London. They outsmarted Brazil 67-61 improving to 2-1 record in Group B. After this victory Australia is very close to reach the Quarterfinals. At the other side, Brazil dropped to 0-3 and they are in very difficult situation now. Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81) scored 18 points for the winners and pulled down 8 rebounds. Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) had double-double of 17 points and 10 boards, while Suzy Batkovic-Brown (195-C-80) added 11 pts and 6 boards. Brazil got 22 points from Karla da Costa (173-SG-78) and 11 from Erika De Souza (197-C-82, agency: Josep and Nicolas). Clarissa Dos Santos (187-C-88) followed them with 10 points and 6 rebs. Shocked by France in overtime in their last match, the Opals came out firing and took total control with a 12-2 run through the first and second quarters to open up a nine-point break. With Cambage and Jackson staying out of the early foul trouble which has plagued them in London, Australia controlled the boards to open up a 13-point halftime lead and hold Brazil to just 18 first-half points. Cambage did much of the grunt-work at both ends with her giant presence under the basket at both ends, and also chipped in important points. Jackson stepped up in a see-sawing third quarter, moving past Leslie's previous mark of 488 Games points with a free throw late in the term as the Opals restored their lead to 11 by the break. But the Brazilians would not go away, and clambered back to within four points with 16 seconds left. Fittingly, Jackson made the match safe with two clutch free throws and an important rebound which allowed Australia to soak up the remaining time. Australia will play against Russia on Friday. Brazil's rival will be Canada.
United Kingdom - Russia 61-67 Russia advanced to the Quarterfinals of 2012 Olympic Games. They celebrated 67-61 victory against the home team and jumped to 3-0 in Group B, what is already enough for the next stage. UK faced with third straight loss in London. Eugeniya Belyakova (182-SF-86) top-scored in Russia with 12 points (6 rebounds) and Marina Kuzina (195-C-85) had two points less. Olga Arteshina (188-PF-82) and Becky Hammon (175-PG-77, agency: Josep and Nicolas, college: Colorado St.) (6 as) netted 9 and 8 points respectively. Natalie Stafford (175-SG-76) answered with 18 points for the hosts and Johannah Leedham (180-SF-87, college: Franklin Pierce) had 14. Britain went on a 12-2 run to open the game, but Russia took the lead on the last shot of the opening quarter at 16-14 and never trailed again. Russia's Ilona Korstin scored five straight points late in the game to hold off Britain, which closed the gap to three (61-58) with 56 seconds to play after its captain Johannah Leedham made one of two free throws. But Korstin hit three of four free throws and nailed a jumper in between to secure Russia's unexpectedly close win over the Olympic newcomer. Russia will play against Australia in two days, while UK will take on France.
Canada - France 60-64 France registered third straight win at 2012 Olympic Games in London. This time France was better than Canada 64-60 for perfect 3-0 record in Group B. France already booked a spot for the Quarterfinals. At the other side, Canada dropped to 1-2 in this pool. Emilie Gomis (180-G/F-83) and Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui (190-C-86) were the leading players in victory with 16 and 14 points respectively. Sandrine Gruda (193-C-87) (7 rebs) and Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) (5 rebs) helped with 10 points each. In defeat, Shona Thorburn (178-G-82, college: Utah) answered with 17 points, and Natalie Achonwa (190-F-92) had 14 pts, plus 8 rebs. Kimberley Smith (186-F-84, college: Utah) was third scorer in Canada with 8 points. Yacoubou's consecutive lay-ins to start the final period gave the French a 46-40 advantage. Canada was able to cut it to 62-60 after Natalia Anchonwas three-point play with 9.5 seconds left. Celine Dumerc sealed the win with two free throws less than a second later. Quarters: 13-12, 15-13, 14-15, 22-20. On Friday, France will play against the host UK. Canada will meet Brazil in maybe the crucial game.
Day Two of the Olympic Games in London - Jul 30, 2012
Czech Republic - Turkey 57-61 Turkey had another joyful day in London. After 72-50 win against Angola on Saturday, Turkey grabbed 61-57 victory against Czech Republic on Monday for perfect 2-0 record in Group A. Czech Republic dropped to 0-2 in this pool. Nevriye Yilmaz (194-C-80) stepped up for the winners with double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds. Bahar Caglar (186-F-88) had 11 points and 7 boards, while Tugba Palazoglu (171-G-80) also scored 11 pts in this meeting. Czech Republic got 19 points and 5 rebounds from Jana Vesela (194-PF-83). Eva Viteckova (6 rebs) and Katerina Elhotova stopped to 11 and 8 points respectively. Turkey had impressive first half making 12-point lead. They had plus 13 early in the third quarter which the Czechs whittled down to 49-45. But Caglar's jumper and consecutive 3-pointers by Saziye Ivegin restored a double-digit advantage with just over 4 minutes left. The Czechs tried to rally again, but could only get within four the rest of the way. Turkey will meet powerful USA on Wednesday. Czech Republic will play against also winless Croatia.
Croatia - China 58-83 Chen Nan (195-C-83) drained 28 points and Miao LiJie (178-F-81) followed her with 17 to lead China to a 83-58 victory over Croatia on Monday morning. Chen and Miao played major roles in 2008 to help China finish fourth at the Beijing Games and are major reasons why China has opened this competition with victories in its first two games. Chin made 28-21 at the beginning of the second quarter and reached its first double digit lead with 29 seconds remaining in the first half. Andja Jelavic (172-G-80) made a basket for Croatia setting the score to 31-39 at the HT. China opened Q3 with 12-5 run and later jumped to 21-point lead. Croatia was not able to reply for rest of the way and China registered it second straight win in London. China beat the Czech Republic 66-57 in its opener. At the other side, Croatia faced with second loss in Group A (0-2). Miao and Chen scored 24 of the team's 39 points in the first half. Chen grabbed 10 rebounds in this meeting, while Miao had 10 assists and 5 boards. Song Gao helped her country with 13 points, 7 rebs and 5 assists. In the loosing squad, Sandra Mandir (177-G-77) collected 22 points and 5 rebounds. Andja Jelavic had 11 points and 5 rebs for Croatia, who is playing in its first Olympics. On Wednesday, China will meet Angola, while Croatia will play against Czech Republic.
Angola - USA 38-90 The U.S. women say they don't care about the final score. They just want to have least one more point than their opponent at the end of games in the women's Olympic basketball tournament. That sounds like the right thing to say after Candace Parker (193-C-86, college: Tennessee) had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Americans to a 90-38 rout of Angola on Monday night. But the Americans aren't just being politically correct. They know they are still a work in progress, having only been together training for two weeks, and are going to play some tough games during the tournament. The game against Angola was expected to be an easy romp - and it was - with the U.S. overwhelming the Olympic newcomer. The Americans (2-0) have won their last 35 straight games in the Olympics and four consecutive gold medals while Angola is looking for its first victory. The team lost its opener to Turkey by 22 points meaning African nations have only won one of their 25 games in the Olympics since Congo - formerly known as Zaire - first qualified in the 1996 Atlanta Games. Nigeria owns the only victory, beating Korea by four points in 2004. The Americans had played African teams twice and routed them both. The U.S. beat Zaire by 60 points in 1996 and then Mali by 56 at the Beijing Games in 2008. Angola (0-2) did fare a little better than its continental neighbors. The team stayed close to the Americans for the first quarter, only trailing by 10 at the end of the period. Then the U.S. put the game away outscoring the African country 19-6 in the second period. Parker hit two nifty reverse lay-ins in the quarter. The Americans continued the rout in the second half, extending the advantage to as many as XX points. The strong crowd which had witnessed some very competitive games all day, emptied out early in the final period knowing the outcome wasn't in doubt. Coach Geno Auriemma rested center Sylvia Fowles (198-C-85, college: LSU), who has a sore left foot. It didn't matter as the 6-foot-4 Parker looked confident on the floor, demanding the ball in the post and running the floor for easy layups. The game was a contrast for the U.S. from its opener when the Americans struggled on offense for the first three quarters before pulling away from Croatia. Despite the lopsided final score, Auriemma has been impressed in the growth he's seen in Angola and other African countries. "Angola's one of those countries you hope, because of what's happened with the U.S. and some other places in women's basketball, that other African countries pick up and say that could be us," Auriemma said. "Hopefully that's a country that becomes accustomed to playing in the Olympics. Hopefully they devote more energy and resources and they can come back to the Olympics on a regular basis." Next up for the U.S. is Turkey, which improved to 2-0 in pool play with a 61-57 victory over the Czech Republic. The Americans also will face China and the Czech Republic. The U.S. beat the Czechs in the finals of the 2010 world championship to qualify for the London Games. *Courtesy of www.mysanantonio.com
Russia - Brazil 69-59 Second win for Russia at 2012 Olympic Games in London. This time Russia was better than Brazil 69-59 for 2-0 record in Group B. Eugeniya Belyakova (182-SF-86) scored 14 points in victory, Irina Osipova (196-C-81) had 13 and Marina Kuzina helped with 11 points. In Brazil, Erika De Souza (197-C-82, agency: Josep and Nicolas) shined with double-double of 15 points and 18 rebounds. Patricia Ferreira (182-SF-79) and Karla da Costa scored 12 and 11 points respectively. Their team dropped to 0-2. Russia led most of the way but Brazil rallied and cut the deficit to two points twice in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Karla Costa cut Russia's lead to 51-49 with six minutes remaining, but Alena Danilochkina answered for Russia with two free throws. Damiris Dantas then nailed another 3-pointer, before Belyakova hit another of her own and Brazil never got any closer than five points for rest of the game. In the next game, Russia will plat against the host - UK. Brazil will meet Australia hoping to get the first victory in London.
United Kingdom - Canada 65-73 Shona Thorburn (178-G-82, college: Utah) poured in a game-high 18 points to lead Canada past Great Britain, 73-65, in the women's basketball tournament. Courtnay Pilypaitis (184-G-88, college: Vermont) and Kim Smith donated 11 points apiece for the Canadians, who lost to Russia in their opening game on Saturday. Natalie Stafford (175-SG-76) and Johannah Leedham (180-SF-87, college: Franklin Pierce) each tallied 15 points for Great Britain, which has dropped its first two games in front of its home crowd after losing to Australia on Saturday. Trailing 55-53 after three quarters, Great Britain opened the fourth with an 8-2 surge to take a 61-57 advantage. The Canadians responded with a run of their own however, scoring the next nine points to build a 66-61 edge they would not relinquish as Thorburn buried 3- of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Canada will face France on Wednesday, while Great Britain looks for its first win of the tournament against Russia on Wednesday. *Courtesy of www.sportsnetwork.com
France - Australia 74-70 OT Emilie Gomis (180-G/F-83) couldn't be stopped and France stunned Australia in overtime Monday in Olympic women's basketball. The French guard scored all 22 of her points in the second half and France knocked off Australia 74-70 in OT. Sandrine Gruda (193-C-87) added 11 points for France (2-0) in the win of the second-ranked team in the world. It was Australia's first loss in the Olympics to a team other than the U.S. since 1996 and was one of the biggest victories in France's women's basketball history. The French didn't make it easy on themselves, failing to put the game away in the final minute of regulation. Australia (1-1) capitalized on France's miscues. France's Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui (190-C-86) had a chance to seal the victory in regulation, but missed the second of two free throws. Trailing 65-62 with 3 seconds left, Australia's Belinda Snell (181-SF-81) got the rebound and banked in a 3-pointer from just past halfcourt to send the game to overtime and whip the crowd into a frenzy. The Aussies, however, had to play the extra session without stars Lauren Jackson (196-F/C-81) and Cambage Elizabeth (203-C-91) both had fouled out. France has been on the rise as a women's basketball power lately. The French won the European Championship in 2009 and qualified for the Olympics for only the third time. Now they can add a victory over the three-time defending Olympic silver medalists to their growing resume. The two teams met in an exhibition game just before the Olympic competition began and France came away with a six-point victory. Jackson and Suzy Batkovic-Brown (195-C-80) didn't play in that contest, but having them back didn't make a difference in the outcome on Monday. Batkovic led Australia with 17 points and Jackson added 13 before fouling out. Trailing 61-59 with 1:43 left in the fourth quarter, Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) hit a 3-pointer. Gruda extended the lead to three with a lay-in with 47 seconds left. France just couldn't put Australia away. After Snell missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it, Gomis missed a wide-open layup on the other end. Snell was fouled on the ensuing rebound. She made the first free throw before missing the second on purpose. France corralled the rebound, but then Yacoubou missed free throw set up Snell's thrilling shot. Australia was hoping this would be its chance to get that elusive gold medal. The team spent the last three months training together as Jackson missed the first part of the WNBA season to work with her teammates. Australia may be hard-pressed to get over the top this time without Penny Taylor, who is missing the Olympics after she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in early April. France turned a 28-27 halftime lead into a 13-point advantage behind Gomis. She took over scoring 16 points during a 21-7 run that gave France a 52-39 lead with 3:37 left in the third quarter. Australia rallied scoring the final 12 points of the period behind Jenna O'Hea and Jackson to cut its deficit to one heading into the fourth quarter. France built its lead to five early in the fourth before Australia took a 59-58 lead on Samantha Richards' jumper with 4:11 left. After Gomis hit a free throw to tie it, Jackson had a basket with 2:48 left. Jackson helped Australia get out to a quick 18-11 lead before France started to rally behind Edwige Lawson-Wade. She had six straight points during a 10-0 run that gave France it's first lead of the game at 21-20 with 4:20 left in the first half. The teams traded baskets the rest of the half and French held a 28-27 advantage at the break. Courtesy of The Associated Press (via www.timesrecordnews.com)
Day One of the Olympic Games in London - Jul 29, 2012
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 http://ca.sports.yahoo.com
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 www.huffingtonpost.com
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 http://sports.yahoo.com
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 www.therepublic.com
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 www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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 http://sports.yahoo.com
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