Day 3 Women: BRA 67 - RUS 77
Russia hands Brazil first loss
ATHENS, August 18 - Russia put the brakes on a record-breaking offence and handed Brazil its first defeat, 77-67, in Olympic Women's Basketball at Helliniko Indoor Arena on Wednesday.
Both teams are now 2-1 in Group A, while undefeated Australia benefited from the result by claiming first place exclusively.
Russia's perimeter defence excelled, limiting Brazil to 2-for-15 shooting from 3-point distance. Brazil had made 18 shots totalfrom downtown while averaging 107 points in its first two games.
Guard Anna ARKHIPOVA was a catalyst for Russia, with 20 points, but there were others.
Russian center Maria STEPANOVA, scored all her 15 points before halftime and pulled 9 rebounds. Ilona KORSTIN added 12 points for the winners.
Janeth ARCAIN paced Brazil with 19 points. Iziane MARQUES chipped in 12 and Helen LUZ 10, though she hit only 2 of 10 3-point attempts.
ARKHIPOVA got Russia started, but ARCAIN quickly helped Brazil tie 15-15. STEPANOVAfinished the first quarter with three baskets for a 21-17 Russian lead.
STEPANOVA kept going strong for 8 more points early in the second quarter, as Russia's lead climbed to 39-22. Brazil struggled to respond and reached halftime trailing 46-28.
A Brazilian push came in the third quarter, with ARCAIN and MARQUES fuelling a 14-3 run that cut Russia's advantage to 49-42. Brazil hung within 56-48 late in the quarter, but it finished with a 7-0 run for Russia that started with a 3-pointer by ARKHIPOVA.
With Brazil having set an offensive record of 128 points to start the preliminary round, a comeback was likely. Indeed, after LUZ's second 3-pointer fell halfway through the final quarter, Brazil was within 67-62. There the rally stalled, however, as Russia defended better and converted more opportunities down the stretch to win by double digits.
Russia continues the tournament against Japan on Friday, while Brazil looks to bounce back against Nigeria.
Anna ARKHIPOVA, Point Guard (RUS)
"It was a very difficult game for us, and it was very important to win it. And what mattered most is that we finally found a way to play together as a team, something that we were looking for in both of our previous games."
Vadim KAPRANOV, Head Coach (RUS)
"Brazil is a very tough team to beat. We prepared ourselves well for the game. In the last game we scored 56 points; this time we had 77, which I think is the right level for our team. In addition, I liked the fact that we had three players scoring over 10 points. In the second half, when Brazil played hard and better on defense, we had some problems with our offense, but we kept our discipline and were able to keep the lead we had from the beginning. We knew of Brazil's ability in three-point shots, so we concentrated on watching players like Janeth ARCAIN or Helen LUZ, who are very good three-point shooters."
Adriana Moises PINTO, Point Guard (BRA)
"Three-point baskets are a big weapon for Brazil, but they just didn't fell tonight. Two for sixteen is a very bad percentage. Turnovers also came in the wrong moments, when we had a chance of getting back in the game."
AntonioBARBOSA, Head Coach (BRA)
"Russia defended well and we didn't get our usual three-pointers. We still have a chance of finishing first in the group, if we beat Australia, but then finishing first, second or third doesn't matter that much. The only thing we want to avoid is to finish fourth and cross with the United States. We will try to improve in every game and find the best way to win. For us, the tournament begins on the 24th of August, that is in the semifinals."
Source: Athens news service