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Russia Wins Women's Basketball Bronze Medals
    2008-08-23 22:44:34     Xinhua
Russia won the bronze medals for the second consecutive time on Saturday as they beat China 94-81 in the 3rd-4th placing final of the women's basketball competition at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Rebekka Hammon had 22 points to help Russia add another medal to their silvers at the 2006 World Championships, while Tatiana Shchegoleva and Marina Kappunina added 15 apiece.

The fourth-placed finishing was also the best Olympic result for the Chinese in 16 years after they won the silver medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Chen Nan led China with 26 points and Bian Lan contributed 17 points, Miao Lijie 16, all were members of the national team of the 2004 Athens when China finished with the 9th place.

After an even first half on 24-23 in favor of Russia, the Europeans broke through from Shchegoleva's pair of three-pointers, one of them was a four-point play, to lead 40-30 with less than four minutes to go in the first half.

The Russians buried four three-pointers in row to opened it up on 52-37 with a 21-7 run before the end of the second quarter. China never closed the gap down under 10 points after that.

Leading as many as 19 points on 65-46 midway into the third period, the taller and quicker Russians played to their best to maintain the lead and the victory.

"The better team had a correct result. We just played as good as we could. I'm very happy with my players," China's Australian coach Tom Maher said.

"I'm pleased we were able to get into the medal round, considering the 9th finishing we had four years ago. When we entered the tournament, there were big three - the U.S., Australia and Russia - which seemed one step better than the rest. We had done good enough tonight," He added.

Chen Nan said, "I felt sorry for the results. We were one step away to a podium finishing. But I'm not disappointed with ourselves as we had done our bests in the tournament."
 
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