BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia held off a strong
fight-back and worked out a late surge to battle past Latvia 62-57 Saturday
night in the women's basketball preliminary tournament at the Beijing
The Latvians showed some signs of rust early in their
game when Russia played fierce defence to force it into a dismal shooting
Although the defence gave its opponents 10 free
throws, out of which the Latvians hit only four, Russians scored a 11-0 run to
take a 14-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Latvia soon found its shooting marks to fight back in
an extremely tight second quarter with a 9-0 run, leveling the scores at 19-19,
22-22, 24-24, and 26-26 before taking a 31-29 lead at the half-time.
Hitting its top form, Latvia managed to foil the
Russians' defence and pull away to stretch the lead to 48-41 by the end of the
Russia rallied to go on a charge in the fourth
quarter and cut the deficit down to one point with a 6-0 run before tying the
The Russians' late surge turned around the game and
sealed a 62-57 win.
The Russian women's team, a strong contender for the
Beijing Olympics gold, is having one of its most successful periods ever.
At the 2006 World Championships in Brazil the team
beat Spain and the United States on the way to losing to Australia in the
The Beijing Games is the second time that a Latvian
team has competed in an Olympic basketball competition.
This current Latvian women's team booked its place at
the Beijing Olympics after beating Angola by 58 points in the quarter final of
the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, held in Madrid, Spain.