Harrower Leads Australia to Bronze in Women's Basketball
2012 London Summer Olympics: Women's Basketball
London, England (August 11, 2012)
Retirement-bound Kristi Harrower buried five pressure-packed foul shots to help Australia weather a late rally by Russia to win, 83-74, Saturday and capture bronze medal in women's basketball.
The Australians led by 65-50, after two foul shots by Harrower but the relentless Russians trimmed the lead to 76-71 with less than two minutes in the game.
Australian forward Lauren Jackson scored on a lay-up before Harrower sank five charity shots to ensure that her last Olympic match will be a victorious one.
Jackson scored 25 points and 11 rebounds, Harrower finished with 21 points while Suzy Batkovic chipped in 17 points and eight caroms for the Australians, who won a medal in women's basketball for a fifth consecutive Olympics.
The Australian women's team started its medal streak at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, where they captured bronze. The team won silver in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
"Our women's team played inspired basketball against the Russians tonight and once again showed their incredible strength of character to win the bronze medal," said Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally.
"We've seen in London across all sports just how difficult it is to win a medal at the Olympic Games, so for our women's team to medal at five consecutive Games is nothing short of stunning," she added.
The Russians led 8-4 early but the Australians refused to let the Europeans get a decisive advantage as Harrower and Batkovic combined to grab a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Batkovic continued her fiery shooting in the second period, helping Australia outscored Russia, 21-14, to lead 38-30 at the half
The Australians started the third period with a 18-9 run to grab their biggest lead of the game at 56-39
A 19-13 third period by the Opals saw the Australians take a 57-43 lead into the final period and appear set to cruise to victory.
But American-born guard Becky Hammon poured 15 of her game-high 19 points to spearhead the Russians' fourth-quarter comeback.
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