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Brazil's Women Also Unbeaten

July 30, 1996

Brazil struggled, needing a 13-foot jump shot by Janeth Arcain with three seconds to play to beat Italy, 75-73, in its final game in pool play, but so what?

"The real Olympics start now," Brazilian guard Paula Silva said. "Any defeat would be fatal."

If the "real Olympics" are played to form, Brazil, which finished with a 5-0 record in Pool A, and the United States, also 5-0 in Pool B, will contest the gold medal, and if you want some kind of comparison, the U.S. women beat Italy by 40 points in an exhibition game a week before the Atlanta Olympics.

But Brazil played Monday's game without its top guard, Hortencia, who has a sprained left ankle but should be ready when medal play begins Wednesday and the Brazilians play Cuba, which beat Zaire, 73-59. Cuba (2-3) and South Korea tied for fourth, but Cuba beat the Koreans.

Against Brazil, Italy (3-2) led by seven points with less than nine minutes to play, fell behind, 73-69, then rallied to tie, 73-73, when Nicoletta Caselin drove into traffic and hit a layup with 19 seconds to play.

Janeth then went one-on-one and hit the game-winner over Viviana Ballabio just inside the free-throw line.

In another game, Mikiko Hagiwara scored nine of her 26 points in overtime for Japan (2-3), which beat Canada, 95-85, to finish fourth in its pool and advance to a quarterfinal game against the United States.

Russia (4-1), which lost only to Brazil, had no trouble with China, getting 26 points and 18 rebounds from Yelena Baranova in a 94-78 victory.

Ukraine (3-2) finished second to the United States in Pool B by beating Australia, getting 15 points from Oksana Dovgalyuk in a 54-48 victory.

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