AMBATO (South American Championship for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Clarissa Dos Santos once again underlined her quality with an MVP display for Brazil as she guided her country to yet another triumph at the South American Championship for Women which could be a key appetiser ahead of the FIBA World Championship for Women next month.
The forward hit top form in the tournament as Brazil continued their utter domination of the event by collecting a 59-47 success against arch rivals Argentina.
Dos Santos illuminated proceedings in Ambata, Ecuador with a double-double of 11 points and a stunning 18 rebounds, to put her team on the road to gold.
"During the game, so many things came into my head, but I felt good and ready for this contest," she said.
"We got a little nervous and anxious, but during the game we were eventually passing with real confidence and security to each other and came out of it with a good win.
"And, winning against Argentina always provides an even better taste," added Dos Santos.
With some young players stating their case for inclusion in the FIBA World Championship for Women squad, it was a successful venture for head coach Luiz Augusto Zanon.
The play-caller was satisfied with a difficult match-up between two of basketball's classic rivals, which was an intense encounter as usual.
Indeed only a devastating late 13-0 run eventually pushed Brazil clear, with the outcome having hung firmly in the balance heading into the last quarter.
And even though Brazil have become perennial winners of the competition, this didn't detract from the sense of fulfilment for Zanon.
"It was a tough game for 40 minutes, but we knew it would not be easy," he said.
"We were very positive and the girls knew the right time to go and win the game.
"This is a moment when many teams do not have the power to recover from difficulties. This factor in particular pleased me and the coaching staff greatly.
"It was an important victory for this stage (of our preparations) and due to the various difficulties we had on the court."
He continued: "The behaviour we showed was very good as my players were aware that we did not have a great start, but we waited for the moment to turn the game into a victory.
"It was a great maturing of my team and their understanding.
"Indeed the more difficulty this group encounters, the faster it is going to reach the level of maturity that I am aiming for.
"Being a champion in any tournament is very important."
Jaqueline Silvestre led Brazil with 15 points to show why she could yet force her way into the reckoning for a place on the final roster bound for Ankara, Turkey.
Venezuela beat Chile to the podium with a 72-54 triumph in the bronze medal game.FIBA
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
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