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Basketball - 02. August 2012.

OLYW - Russia and France through from Group B

LONDON (Olympics) - Wednesday's Group B games saw France and Russia book second round places, while Australia bounced back to pile on the misery for Brazil.

The nine o'clock game saw two teams very familiar with one another come head to head.

France and Canada not only locked horns at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, but also in several friendly games and most recently just over a month ago in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with the French winning on each occasion.

In spite of France's superiority, acknowledged by Canada head coach Allison McNeil after the game, Canada stuck to their game-plan and remained within touching distance throughout.

With the gap down to two points with ten seconds remaining, an excellent Celine Dumerc held her nerve with two successful free throws to bring the French home 64-60.

Any Canadian luck from long range might have seen a different result they finished zero of 11 from beyond the arc, stats that McNeil attributed as much to great defensive play from the French as poor shooting from her own team.

Shona Thorburn (Canada) finished top scorer with 17 points, while Emilie Gomis led the way for France with 16.

After defeats to France and Russia, Brazil had the chance to get off the mark when they took on Australia in the third game of the day.

But the Asutralians came out of the blocks the stronger, establishing a five point lead before the end of the first quarter.

Whatever Luis Trallo said to his players didn’t work, as the Australians pulled further ahead, extending their lead to 15 midway through the second.

If the Brazilians managed to stop the rot, they never really looked like mounting a serious comeback, with the scores finishing 67-61 in favour of the Opals.

The low post battle was won by Cambage and Jackson, bouncing back from the French overtime defeat in which both had fouled out.

Guard Karla Costa was the pick of the Brazilians with her 22 points.

The best game of Group B was saved for last though, as Great Britain attempted to secure their first win of the tournament against Russia.

The hosts got off to a flying start, which saw them build up a rapid 12-2 lead. The Russians bounced back and by halftime they had built up a significant lead of their own.

Spurred on by deafening crowd, Natalie Stafford (18 points) and Jo Leedham (14) mounted a slow but steady Team GB comeback, with each score being greeted by a rapturous cheer.

A minute from time saw them come to within a long range effort of parity. Russia’s hero was arguably a player who only played nine minutes.
Inside the last minute, Ilona Korstin replied with three crucial free-throws as well as a field goal to carry her team through to the quarters with a final score of 67-61.

Evgeniya Belyakova scored 12, all from long range, in an excellent display of long range shooting.



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