Day 1 Women: BRA 128 - JPN 62
Brazil sets Olympics scoring record in opener
ATHENS - Brazil launched its bid for a third consecutive medal in grand style on Saturday, 14 August, setting a new Olympic Womens Basketball scoring record in defeating Japan, 128-62 in Group A of the preliminary round at the Helliniko Indoor Arena.
The previous points record belonged to Japan, thanks to a 121-76 victory over Canada in the first Womens tournament, at Montreal in 1976.
Brazil also tied the mark for margin of victory. The 66-point difference matched the existing record posted by the Soviet Union in a 119-53 victory over Italy in 1980 at Moscow.
Brazil used its impressive height advantage to blow the game open with an amazing 36-0 run that lasted most of the second quarter. Two-metre tall centre Alessandra OLIVIERA, was unstoppable on her way to 25 points for the winners.
Her teammates Helen LUZ and Janeth ARCAIN followed with 20 points each. Erika SOUZA added 15 and Adriana PINTO 11 for Brazil.
Japan was led by Noriko HAMAGUCHI, with 23 points, and Mutsuko NAGATA, with 21.
A fast-paced first quarter belied the lopsided eventual outcome. There were 10 ties or lead changes before Brazil went up 26-22 after 10 minutes.
The theme was already set, Brazils size against Japans speed and shooting, as OLIVIERA used her height advantage to dump in 13 points in the opening quarter.
Brazil amassed an incredible 36-0 start to the second quarter, with OLIVIERA dropping in 12 more points, sent Brazil's score into orbit. Four points in the final 25 seconds prevented Japan from suffering a shutout on the quarter, but Brazil had already amassed a 62-25 halftime edge.
As OLIVIERA rested in the third quarter, substitute Kelly SANTOS took over inside. But it was LUZ who put on the show now, raining four 3-pointers in the quarter, pushing Brazil ahead 95-42 when it finished.
In the final quarter, Brazil topped 100 points with almost 8 minutes remaining as all its substitutes joined the scoring. There was no slowing the Brazilians down until they broke the record with a flurry of fastbreaks near the finish.
Brazil faces host Greece, in Group A on Sunday, while Japan will try to bounce back against Nigeria.
Noriko HAMAGUCHI (JPN) - centre:
"I just hoped our team would score more points today. The Brazilian team was very strong. I hope the next game will be better for us."
Tomohide UTSUMI (JPN) - coach:
"We didn't expect to do as badly. I hope that in the next games we will improve in both our defence and our three-point shooting. Brazil had the advantage of height; the only way to overcome it was three-pointers, which did not go well for us."
Alessandra OLIVEIRA (BRA) - centre:
"We are all very happy about the win, it's a good step ahead for us. We want to continue like this. The whole team's performance was excellent today. We always have difficulties with Asian teams, because of their fast way of playing, but we did well this time. We really didn't care too much about the points that we would score, but it was important to win and we did. Against Greece things will be tougher, because they will have their fans by their side and this is really important."
Antonio BARBOSA (BRA) - coach:
"It was a very good game for us, both in defence and in offence, against a good team that finished second in the Asian Championships. We played very well in transition. I did not expect us to score 128 points; I'd be satisfied with around 80. Against Greece it will be more difficult, as they have some players taller than those of Japan. We played Greece three times recently, and I think their level is pretty high. It is a team that will give us a hard time for sure. I would like us to finish as high in our group as we can, so that we dont play against the United States in the quarterfinals."
Leila SOBRAL (BRA) - forward/centre
On her team's performance:
"What most interests my team isn't so much offensive tactics, rather our focus is on defence and we managed to achieve that today."
Helen Christina LUZ (BRA) - guard
On her team's performance:
"Because it was our first game we were very nervous, but now we can be more relaxed and relieved. From now on, we will be able to set the course of our own games."
On her performance:
"I don't think about my dribble, I just shoot. When I see the opportunity to score, I just go for it. My weakness is practicing my three-point shoot."
Janeth ARCAIN (BRA) - forward
On the results of the game:
"Overall we played great. We managed to neutralise the Japaneses perimeters players. I hope we will have continuing success. We will continue to play hard and deal with each game one at a time."
Mutsuko NAGATA (JPN) - forward
On the game:
"Our game was a self-destructive one. We allowed our opponents to obtain far too many rebounds. On the other hand, we failed to score, as we should have offensively."
On the following games:
"We have to play with heart so as to prevent any other future opponents to be able to take such a victory over us."
Source: Athens News Service