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BRA - Delight for Dantas as Brazil go 14 in a row
MENDOZA (FIBA South American Championship for Women/FIBA Americas Championship for Women) - Brazil extended their ruthless dominance of the FIBA South American Championship for Women after claiming a stunning 14th consecutive title in a competition they haven't tasted defeat in for over a decade.
However, whilst the Brazilians have proven something of a runaway train for many years, this time they had to really sweat to complete a hard-fought 67-58 success in Mendoza against home favourites Argentina.
With the game delicately poised at 36-35 during the interval, Brazil prevailed once again, mainly due to the presence of MVP Damiris Dantas, who corralled 18 points and 11 rebounds.
And she was well supported by playmaker Taina Paixao who was just as outstanding and finished with 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals.
Having been crowned MVP of the FIBA U19 Championship for Women in Chile two years ago, this time Dantas picked up a second treasured individual accolade for her nation.
"I'm very happy and this achievement is the result of hard work and the help of the entire coaching staff," said Dantas, who paid tribute to new head coach Luiz Augusto Zanon.
"This year coach Zanon has helped me a lot because he is a coach who gives me a lot of attention and values me.
"I just try to soak up all of the teachings and work hard.
"I thank god that I could conquer my second MVP title."
It was the first official competition and title for Zanon and he was also happy and relieved to finish top of the podium with his youthful team.
"In the end, it was a very difficult game against a team who always makes good games against us," he said.
"We had some bad moments in the match, but reversed them by showing some emotional balance to remain in the contest.
"We then managed to open the game with a very strong defensive posture, something that was able to counteract the strength of Argentina."
"The victory was built on the desire of this young group.
"It was not easy to beat Argentina in their own house."
There was also considerable delight for Chile, who took bronze with a 74-56 win over Venezuela as Tatiana Gomez starred with a mammoth double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Her stellar work in the paint was complimented by Ziomara Morrison, who had been a powerhouse throughout the tournament.
Her 38 points and 15 rebounds against Peru earlier in the weekend had catapulted her team into the last four and also qualified Chile for the FIBA Americas Championship for Women.
Meanwhile, having missed out last time, Venezuela had the consolation of knowing they will return to the tournament and will line-up alongside the three medal winners from Mendoza when the action tips-off in Mexico on 21 September.
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