Day 2 Women: AUS 75 - RUS 56
Australia, Taylor down Russia by 19
ATHENS - Two superstars were largely quiet, but another saved the day for Australia, a 75-56 winner over Russia in Group A of the Olympic Women's Basketball tournament on Monday at Helliniko Indoor Arena.
Australia, the 2000 Olympic Games silver medallist, tied Brazil at 2-0 atop the group. Russia, the last World Championship runner-up, fell to 1-1.
The duel between former World Championships MVPs Elena BARANOVA of Russia and Lauren JACKSON of Australia never materialized.
Penny TAYLOR carried Australia's scoring load for 35 minutes and finished with 26 points before fouling out. JACKSON emerged late, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the final seven minutes to help to seal the outcome. Trish FALLON added 13 and Kristi HARROWER 11 for the winners.
Only Iliana KORSTIN of Russia broke into double figures, with 12 points.
Australia jumped ahead 15-5 behind the scoring of HARROWER and TAYLOR, then used FALLONs three-point play to stay in front 21-12 after one quarter.
With JACKSON in foul trouble, TAYLOR topped 13 points herself as Australia's lead hit double figures at 29-18 in the second quarter. Russia didnt waste any more time. KORSTIN and fellow reserve Elena KARPOVA shared 9 points in a 15-7 run until halftime, by which time the score was 36-33.
TAYLOR kept going with 5 points in a 9-2 run early in the third quarter to restore Australias advantage at 45-39. When Russia threatened again, with Irina OSIPOVA dropping five straight points, TAYLOR simply popped her first 3-pointer. She had half of Australia's points when the third quarter ended 52-48.
The difference was still two baskets, 54-50, when JACKSON's shots suddenly started dropping - three in a row. FALLON added a 3-pointer and the game was broken open at 63-50.
Australia will face Japan in the next women's games on Wednesday, while Russia must confront undefeated Brazil.
|Press conference quotes:|
Jan STERLING (AUS) - coach
On the game:
"It was a very tough game and the final score doesn't reflect the real difference between the two teams. Tonight we won a very significant game, but we have to approach the next games with the same concentration."
On where her team can improve:
"Certainly we need to improve a few more things. The competition in the Olympic Games is very high and we face a big challenge over here."
On the Russian team:
"They have a wonderful team. They definitely can run the court very well and we faced some defensive problems in transition. In the second half we worked harder and finally dominated."
Penny TAYLOR (AUS) forward
On Australias win:
"We are very pleased we won this game. Honestly, it was a great challenge for us to face the European Champions and our motivation was pretty high. It was a totally different situation we had to deal with and I believe we had a good team effort tonight."
On their enthusiastic celebrations after the game:
"It was really fantastic. We wanted this win over the European Champs, thats why we reacted like this when the game finished."
On teammate Lauren JACKSON:
"It is just great to have her in the same team. Lauren is so important for us and I think everyone of us has a specific role."
Vadim KAPRANOV (RUS) coach
On the game:
"For sure the Australian team wanted the victory more than we did. We needed to play hard, but we made defensive mistakes and that hurt us, especially during the second half. The thing that worries me is that not all my players tried hard in defence and that is something we have to take care of."
On the psychological impact of the loss:
"Definitely this is a bad loss for my team, since we have not lost a game by 19 points for a long time. So, this deficit hurts our egos and maybe we will react in a positive way. We will find out the next days."
Ilona KORSTIN (RUS) guard
On the game:
"We let them score some easy points in the first period and then we had to follow them for a long period. We managed to lead the game at the beginning of the third period, but we lost our concentration and that hurt us. Australia is a very talented team and played in a very high level."
On the rest of the Olympic tournament:
"I hope this is going to be our last loss. We definitely want to win all the next games and be one of the top teams in the world."
Source: Athens news service