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MADRID (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) - Angola fought back from a late eight-point deficit to stun Argentina and knock the South Americans out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women.
Trailing 54-46 with 2:45 remaining after a basket by Argentina's Florencia Fernandez, Angola looked dead.
But they battled back. The outstanding talent Nassecela Mauricio had a three-point play, and followed that with a shot from behind the arc to close the gap to 54-52 with 1:20 remaining. After a Fernandez lay-up on a fast break restored the Argentina lead to four, Nadir Manuel drilled a three-ball to reduce the South Americans' lead to 56-55. Angola then went in front for good at 57-56 22 seconds from the end with a pair of free throws by Isabel Francisco.
Trailing 59-56, Argentina were given one last chance when Fernandez was fouled with just one second left at midcourt while rushing up the floor to attempt a three-pointer.
She made both free throws, and on the inbounds pass, Sthefany Thomas stole the ball from Irene Guerreiro and launched a potential game-winning jumper from the left baseline.
Thomas, who was sensational in the second half, only drew iron and Angola held on to clinch a place in the quarter-finals.
Angola will play the Czech Republic for Group B supremacy on Wednesday.
Astrida Vicente had 17 points and Nassecela Mauricio 16 for Angola while Maria Landra poured in 11 and Thomas 10 for Argentina.
Argentina's free throw shooting killed them. They finished 14 of 24 (58%) while Angola were 15 of 21 (71%).
Angola's three-point shooting, especially late, helped them as well.
They finished eight of 20 (40%) compared to two of 19 (11%) for the South Americans.