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Wild End Marks Brazil's Victory

September 28, 2000|From Associated Press

A coach was on the floor celebrating before the game ended and the game clock didn't start when it was supposed to with 1.4 seconds to play.

When everyone was back where they belonged Wednesday and the horn had finally sounded, Brazil had defeated Russia, 68-67, to advance to the semifinals of the women's Olympic basketball tournament at Sydney, Australia.

Alessandra Oliveira scored down low with 1.4 seconds to play to put the Brazilians on top, 68-67. Brazil Coach Antonio Carlos Barbosa charged onto the court, running toward two of his players to hug them. As he spun back toward the bench, the referees signaled that Russia was calling a timeout, but it didn't have any left.

A long pass downcourt was caught by Irinia Rutkovskaya but her leaning bank shot bounced off the rim. The game clock was never started and stayed at 1.4 seconds as players continued to fight for the rebound.

The referees finally realized the clock had not started and signaled the game was over, starting a celebration that was appropriate for Barbosa to join.

"I ran on the court to bring my players to the bench myself," Barbosa said before winking. "I was that happy because to beat a team that had a chance to win the gold medal like Russia, this is a moment of joy for a team that is very inexperienced."

Three members of the Brazil team played for the one that won the silver medal in 1996, its only other semifinal appearance. Now Brazil (3-3) faces Australia (6-0), which advanced with a 76-48 victory over Poland in the quarterfinals.

Brazil was able to stay in the game despite leading scorer Janeth Arcain sitting out the first 13 minutes of the second half because she had four fouls. Arcain, who plays for the WNBA's Houston Comets and entered the game averaging 20.4 points, returned with 6:50 to play and had an assist, hit a jumper and made a free throw as Brazil went up, 63-58.

She fouled out with 4:23 to play and Russia (3-3) was able to retake the lead at 65-64 on a three-pointer basket by Anna Arkhipova with 2:29 left, the team's first after eight consecutive misses from beyond the arc.

Brazil got the ball after a Russia turnover with 40 seconds to play. It got an offensive rebound to keep the ball with 15 seconds left and ran the clock down before Oliveira scored the winning basket.

"Luck played its role tonight," said Russia Coach Yevgeny Gomelsky, who led the Unified Team to the gold medal in 1992. "What is sad is that is how we end all the work we invested in our preparation."

Oliveira scored 17 points on eight-of-10 shooting, and Arcain had 13 points and nine rebounds.

"We did have luck on our side tonight," Arcain said. "But we felt very good with what we did against a team considered on a superior level to us."

Elena Pchikova had 18 points for Russia, while Rutkovskaya had 11.

"I don't want to talk about the referees. That's not my role," Gomelsky said. "We still had 1.4 [seconds] for a possibility to score."

South Korea 68, France 59--South Korea advanced to the semifinals for the second time--it won the silver medal in 1984--by making 54.8% of its shots and 16 of 18 free throws. The South Koreans, who will play the United States in the semifinals, made seven of eight free throws in the last 1:50.

Yang-Jung-ok had 15 points for South Korea (4-2), which lost to the United States, 89-75, in the opening game of the preliminary round.

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