Olympic Day 3 round-up
By Dave Ryan
It wasn’t hard to pick out the best game of the day as the 12 women’s sides got their second taste of action at the Olympic Basketball tournament.
Perennial silver medallists Australia went down 74-70 in overtime against France in a game that featured arguably the most exciting basketball play at the 2012 Olympics so far.
With the world number two Australia trailing by three and their superstar Lauren Jackson having fouled out, guard Belinda Snell found herself pushing the ball up the floor with only seconds left. Snell launched a desperation three from her own half that banked in to tie the game as the entire basketball arena jumped to their feet as the game was heading to extra period.
France, however, dampened the Australian excitement by winning the overtime period. After the game, France’s Celine Dumerc said: “It was a big, big victory because it was against a big team like Australia. It was not a target for us at the beginning of the tournament, but we played with desire and energy to get the win.”
The day started with a comfortable 83-58 victory for China against Croatia, leaving coach Croatian captain Sandra Mandir frustrated: “We are very disappointed. They played very well, and we need better defence. This is our first Olympics. It’s a big deal that we are here, but we can do better.”
Things were a lot tighter in the second game with Turkey withstanding a strong second period from Czech Republic to chalk up their second victory of the tournament with a 61-57 win.
The Turks led 33-21 at half-time, but were outscored 13-5 in the first five minutes of the second half to set up a tense game. They led 45-39 at the final break and increased that lead to nine with five minutes remaining before hanging on to leave captain Nevriye Yilmaz a happy woman:
“We have an excellent performance, especially on defence, I am so happy for my team. We have confidence (and) good players. We need to be more focussed on the small easy mistakes, especially on defence.”
Game four couldn’t quite live up to the Australia-France match-up before, but Brazil made Russia fight all the way before the European side ran out 69-59 winners.
Great Britain went agonisingly close to a first Olympic Games victory before fading in the final five minutes and losing 73-65 against Canada. In front a noisy crowd, Tom Maher’s side were up by four going into the final five minutes but were outscored 16-4 down the stretch.
The final game of the day saw champions USA make short work of Angola with a 90-38 victory.