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Dydek, Poland Stand Tall in Debut

September 16, 2000

Margo Dydek and Poland made an impressive Olympic debut.

Dydek, the 7-foot-2 center for the WNBA's Utah Starzz, scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Poland beat New Zealand, 75-52, today in Sydney in the women's Olympic basketball debut for both countries.

Poland, with Dydek dominating inside, took a 25-3 lead and was up, 43-23, at halftime, holding New Zealand to 19% shooting (5 for 26).

New Zealand opened the second half with a 10-0 run to get within 10 points but Dydek and Joanna Cuprys each had six points in a 14-0 run that put Poland back in control.

Cuprys, who scored all but one of her 16 points in the second half, had two three-point shots in the run.

"It was very important for us to play well in our Olympic debut. You can't compare the Olympics to anything," Poland Coach Tomasz Herkt said. "The first 10 minutes determined the final result but it got dangerous in the first part of the second half, but we were able to maintain the lead with three-point shots."

Julie Ofsoski had 13 points to lead New Zealand, which shot 26% from the field (15 for 58), a lot of the misses because of Dydek's presence inside.

"Playing against a 7-foot woman is not what you come across every day," said 6-2 New Zealand center Gina Farmer, who had eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.

Brazil 76, Slovakia 60--Janeth Arcain scored 24 points to lead Brazil, the 1996 silver medalists. Arcain, who plays for the WNBA's Houston Comets, capped the game with her only three-pointer, a 60-foot heave at the buzzer.

She had 15 points in the first half as Brazil took a 35-28 lead.

Marta Sobral scored six of her eight points in a 13-3 run that gave Brazil a 55-37 lead with 9:15 to play.

Slovakia, which was making its debut in women's Olympic basketball, got within 65-56 with 2:22 left, but Arcain, who also had seven points and five assists, had seven points in Brazil's closing run.

Alessandra Olivera added 12 points for Brazil.

Martina Luptakova had 22 points for Slovakia, while Martina Godalyova added 19.

France 75, Senegal 39--Nicole Antibe scored 13 points to lead France to the easy win in another matchup of countries making their debut in women's basketball.

France used a speed advantage to take a 42-21 lead, taking 20 more free throws in the first half than Senegal, which was called for 25 fouls in the game--16 more than France--and committed 28 turnovers, 22 more than France. France scored 32 points off Senegal turnovers.

Astou Ndiaye led Senegal with 11 points and seven rebounds.

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