U.S. Women Knocked Out Of Medal Contention In Women’s Handball
ATLANTA (AP) _ Expectations have gotten even lower for the U.S. women’s handball team.
No longer able to win their first Olympic medal, now they’d settle for two victories. The Americans were eliminated from medal contention after a 30-24 loss Sunday to Hungary, which built a 19-8 halftime lead.
The U.S. women closed to 25-21 after scoring five straight goals. Then came a momentum-breaking mistake.
With about six minutes left in the game, Carol Peterka earned another two-minute suspension for returning to the court too soon after her previous penalty.
``We had the momentum and were only four down,″ U.S. coach Claes Hellgren said. ``But we needed to play like that the whole game. You can’t give a country like that a big lead.″
In other women’s games Sunday, South Korea led throughout a 25-19 victory over Angola, Denmark beat China 33-21 and Germany beat Norway 28-23.
Even with one preliminary game left, the medal round teams have been determined. All four winners Sunday are 2-0, while are four losers are 0-2.
The U.S. team plays China in its final Pool A preliminary game Tuesday. That will determine if the Americans play for fifth or seventh place in the consolation round.
``We want to win them and finish fifth,″ said U.S. goalkeeper Tami Jameson. ``We have some veteran players who have never done that. We want to show the world what we can really do.″
The United States finished sixth in 1992 and seventh in 1988. Its best showing was fourth in 1984, before any of the current team members were playing.
Sharon Cain and Chryssandra Hires each scored two goals during the American rally. But the U.S. never got closer after Peterka’s mistake.
``We beat them by five goals in the second half. That is a pretty good effort for our team,″ Hellgren said. ``We showed we can play a different way in handball. We showed them the American way.″
That included a pressing, zone-like defense for much of the second half.
Eszter Matefi, who scored nine first-half goals for Hungary, was shut out in the second half. Helga Nemeth finished with six goals for the Hungarians.
Cain and Hires both scored five of their goals after halftime. Hires paced the United States with eight goals, while Cain had seven.
Kjersti Grini scored 10 goals for Norway, which built a 15-11 halftime lead and never trailed Germany after that. Mirolsava Ritskiavitchius led the Germans with eight goals.
Lim O-kyeong, Oh Seong-ok and Hong Jeong-ho Hong each scored five goals for South Korea. After Lim’s fastbreak goal 10 minutes into the game made it 7-2, Angola never got within five points. Elisa Webba had seven goals for Angola.
Gitte Madsen made seven of her eight shots for Denmark, which never trailed in its game. The Danish team built a 19-9 halftime lead by outscoring China 12-3 in the final 13:28 of the first half.