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Spanish Women Win Basketball Gold

July 12, 1999

PALMA DE MALLORCA, Balearic Islands (AP) _ The United States women’s basketball team was upset by host Spain 57-48 Monday in the finals of the World Championship Games.

Spain, which won its first gold medal at the event, beat an American squad that was without two starters. The U.S. team didn’t score a point for the first three minutes of the game and never led. The team shot just 27 percent from the field for the game, including 1-of-12 from 3-point range.

Rosaura Sanchez led Spain with 14 points, and Nieves Llamas added 13.

``The ball wasn’t falling for us, and we kind of put out heads down. If you’re not doing well on offense, you have to dig in on defense. We didn’t. We let them dictate things all game,″ said guard Katie Douglas, who led the United States with 14 points.

Douglas is one of two U.S. players from NCAA champion Purdue University. The other, Camille Cooper, missed the gold medal game with the flu.

Starting point guard Brandi McCain also sat out after tearing a ligament in her knee in a first-round game.

``We were missing some players, and that hurts,″ coach Rene Portland said. ``But we also lost our poise. There could have been some gold medal jitters. We let our lack of offense affect our defense.″

The Spaniards hadn’t participated in women’s basketball at the University Games since taking their only previous medal _ a silver _ in 1991.

``We were very good on defense. The Americans were never able to attack our 3-2 zone, and that was the key,″ Spain’s coach Vincente Jose Rodriguez said. ``Before the tournament started, I figured we should get a medal, but knew the United States had to win the gold.″

Spain also won the bronze in men’s basketball by beating Mexico 90-78. Russia claimed the women’s bronze with a 77-71 defeat of Ukraine.

Later Monday, the United States went after its record sixth straight men’s basketball title in a politically charged game against Yugoslavia.

In other action on the penultimate day of this Olympics-style event, Romania’s Lonela Tirlea ran the year’s fastest time for the women’s 400 meters, and set a new University Games record in the process.

Tirlea, European champion in the 400 hurdles, clocked 49.98 seconds to win easily. Mikele Barber of the United States edged Nigeria’s Doris Jacob to take the silver with a time of 51.03. The Romanian was supposed to compete in the hurdles here, but said she didn’t arrive in time.

Other winners in track and field events included Yulia Taranova of Russia in the women’s 800 meters, Jerome Davis of the United States in the men’s 400, and Cuba’s Raul Duany in the decathlon.

In judo, South Korea won the men’s team event and France claimed the women’s title.

Brazil beat South Korea 5-4 on penalty kicks after supplemental time ended with the countries tied 2-2 to take the soccer bronze medal. Italy faced Spain later for the gold.

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