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France Is Fifth in Basketball Debut

September 29, 2000|From Associated Press

Audrey Sauret scored 17 points and France finished fifth in its first women's Olympic basketball appearance with a 71-59 victory today over Russia at Sydney, Australia.

France (5-2) pulled away in the second half by converting turnovers into fastbreak layups. The last six points of an 8-0 run that made it 45-31 with 12:41 to play were layups after steals, the first two by Sauret.

When Russia (3-4) pulled within 55-49 with 5:03 left, France again pulled away for good, this time with an 11-0 run.

Slovakia 64, Poland 57--Renata Hirakova had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead Slovakia (3-4) to the victory in the seventh-place game. Both teams were making their first Olympic appearance.

Margo Dydek, the tournament's leading scorer and rebounder entering today's games with averages of 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds, had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Poland (3-4).

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: Defending world champion Alina Kabaeva of Russia took the lead after the first two rotations of qualifying.

Considered a favorite to win the gold, Kabaeva scored a 9.916 on rope and 9.925 on hoop to lead Yulia Raskina of Belarus by 0.33 points.

The U.S. doesn't have anyone competing. U.S. national champion Jessica Howard missed her chance when she finished 0.001 points behind Emilie Livingston of Canada at last year's Pan-American games. Livingston finished the night in 19th place.

In the team competition, where five gymnasts perform at the same time, Greece beat Russia by 0.34 points to earn one of eight spots in Saturday's finals. Spain, which won the gold medal in Atlanta, made big mistakes in both rotations and failed to qualify.

TEAM HANDBALL: Defending champion Denmark and powerful Norway won women's matches to complete a return to the semifinals by the final four from the 1996 Games.

Denmark needed extra time to stop France, 28-26, in the quarterfinals. Norway, however, soundly beat Romania, 28-16. Denmark will play Korea next while Norway will take on Hungary.

In men's play, Germany defeated Egypt, 24-18, and will play in the fifth-place match against France, which beat Slovenia, 29-22.

WATER POLO: Eelco Uri scored four goals, including the one that put the Netherlands ahead for good, in a 9-8 victory over Slovakia in men's action.

The Dutch (2-4-0) face Greece on Saturday. Slovakia, winless in six games, meets Kazakstan, which scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to tie Greece, 6-6. Those four are competing for ninth through 12th places.

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