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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.
U.S. beats Brazil in possible preview of gold-medal match | Olympics roundup
U.S. beats Brazil in possible
preview of gold-medal match
LONDON — The U.S. women's volleyball team defeated Brazil on Monday in a much-anticipated preliminary game that served both as a rematch of the 2008 Olympic final and a possible preview of this year's gold-medal contest.
Led by Destinee Hooker's 22 points, the top-ranked American women played aggressively as they beat the reigning Olympic champions, 3-1, at Earls Court. The U.S. squad — which won, 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 — improved to 2-0 in pool play.
Brazil seemed to regain some of its form during a hard-fought third set, only to lose its way again in a mistake-prone fourth.
"There were some ups and downs, but we played really well," said U.S. wing spiker Jordan Larson, who finished with 16 points. "We had a tough start, but we found our rhythm. Brazil always battles, but we came strong for the win."
Played in front of a raucous crowd that included U.S. men's basketball star Kobe Bryant, the match had been billed as the toughest of all early-round games, with the Americans facing their longtime rivals and the world's No. 2-ranked team in Brazil. Both countries' players, however, downplayed the significance of the game as the women traded hugs and smiles before post-match news conferences.
"We play against Brazil all the time," U.S. wing spiker Logan Tom said. "I play with some of them. A lot of them are my friends."
The teams are now 21-21 against each other.
"The American team — I've said this many times — is, at this moment, the best team in the world," Brazil coach Jose Guimaraes said.
U.S. smashes Angola
LONDON — Another game, another blowout for the U.S. women's basketball team — not that the score matters to them.
That sounds like the right thing to say after Candace Parker had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the U.S. to a 90-38 rout of Angola.
But the Americans aren't just being politically correct.
They know they are still a work in progress, having only been together training for two weeks, and are going to play some tough games during the tournament.
"It's definitely about ourselves," said Storm guard Sue Bird. "That's how coach (Geno) Auriemma coaches in college. It's his philosophy. Never about how much you win by or lose by, it's how we played. Especially in a game like tonight where going in we kind of had a feeling it might be like this. Not to play to the score, not to relax.
"This is an opportunity for us to play together and we need to take advantage of every opportunity we get."
• Two-time gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings earned their 16th consecutive Olympic victory, beating the Czech Republic.
• A schedule backlog turned the tennis venue at Wimbledon into a parade of Grand Slam champions, and all won. Advancing were Venus and Serena Williams and Roger Federer.
• FIFA has imposed a two-match ban on Colombia player Lady Andrade after U.S. forward Abby Wambach said she was "sucker-punched" by her opponent in Saturday's match.
• Brazilian judo competitor Felipe Kitadai accidentally broke his Olympic bronze medal when he brought it into the shower as a joke and is trying to have it replaced.
• The Nielsen company said 36 million people watched NBC's Olympic coverage Sunday night, the biggest audience for the second night of a non-U.S. summer Olympics competition since TV began covering them in 1960.
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