Day 4 Women: RUS 94 - JPN 71
ATHENS, Elena BARANOVA and Ilona KORSTIN led Russia to a 94-71 win over Japan to earn a quarterfinal berth in the Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament.
Russia, the European champions, started slowly, allowing Japan to take a 6-2 lead, but then exploded and led 29-21 at the end of the first quarter.
Russia had built a 50-36 lead by halftime, and had a 12-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter to lead 62-36.
Russia is now 3-1 with one game remaining against Nigeria on Sunday. Russian has beaten Brazil, Greece and Japan, losing to Australia.
Japan is 1-3, beating Nigeria and losing to Australia, Brazil and Russia. Japan takes on Greece in its last game on Sunday.
WNBA star BARANOVA led Russia with 22 points (with 3/4 threes and 11 boards), while KORSTIN contributed 20 points and 9 rebounds. Tatiana SHCHEGOLEVA added 14 points.
Noriko HAMAGUCHI led Japan with 14 points, while Ryoko YANO added 9 points and Yuko OGA had 8 points.
The Japanese were at a height disadvantage, with the Russians outrebounding them 57-22. Maria STEPANOVA grabbed 12 rebounds.
Taeko OYAMA, (JPN), Guard:
On her team's loss:
"We really played hard and we tried to face one of the greatest teams of this tournament. Russia is a very strong and tall team and it is one of the favourites for the medals. We missed too many shoots and we had too little rebounds. Now, we have to win definitely in the next game against Greece. It is not going to be easy since Greece has its fans on its side."
Vadim KAPRANOV, Head Coach (RUS)
"I think this is the first time in my career that I had to coach at 9 am. But this was a problem for Japan as well. We know that when you play against teams from the Asian Basketball school you have to be careful. We also knew that Japan's offense relies very much on three-pointers. We managed to restrict their offensive strength. And we knew that they would pressure us in defense right away every time they would score. It is dangerous to let yourself be carried by their pace, and this happened at some moments during today's game, when they managed to cut into our lead. I believe that, even in morning games, a more careful selection of referees should be made. I am not going to reveal all my secrets, but you haven't seen the best of our team yet."
Kaori KUSUDA, Point Guard (JPN)
"From now on, we have to give absolutely our best, take what we learned from the experience of the previous games and in practices and use it all to win the next game."
Tomohide UTSUMI, Head Coach (JPN)
"In today's game Russia did not only have the height advantage on us, but also played extraordinary defense inside and outside, passed well, and made good drives. To stand up against such a strong opponent we have to give more than 100%, or else the game will turn out badly for us. In the next game against Greece, we will give everything we have to win. Their style is similar to ours, so we have to work on some details to achieve our goal. China, Korea and Japan will always be plagued by the height disadvantage, so to balance it we need to play quick Basketball and show character and determination to compete well at the Olympic and world level. Asian Basketball must stick to these characteristics to win, and it will."
Source: Athens News Service